Rôle du CA dans l’établissement d’une forte culture organisationnelle | Une référence essentielle


Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, un document partagé par Joanne Desjardins*, qui porte sur le rôle du CA dans l’établissement d’une solide culture organisationnelle.

C’est certainement l’un des guides les plus utiles sur le sujet. Il s’agit d’une référence essentielle en matière de gouvernance.

Je vous invite à lire le sommaire exécutif. Vos commentaires sont appréciés.

 

Managing Culture | A good practical guide – December 2017

 

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « tone at the top »

Executive summary

 

In Australia, the regulators Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have both signalled that there are significant risks around poor corporate culture. ASIC recognises that culture is at the heart of how an organisation and its staff think and behave, while APRA directs boards to define the institution’s risk appetite and establish a risk management strategy, and to ensure management takes the necessary steps to monitor and manage material risks. APRA takes a broad approach to ‘risk culture’ – includingrisk emerging from a poor culture.

Regulators across the globe are grappling with the issue of risk culture and how best to monitor it. While regulators generally do not dictate a cultural framework, they have identified common areas that may influence an organisation’s risk culture: leadership, good governance, translating values and principles into practices, measurement and accountability, effective communication and challenge, recruitment and incentives. Ultimately, the greatest risk lies in organisations that are believed to be hypocritical when it comes to the espoused versus actual culture.

The board is ultimately responsible for the definition and oversight of culture. In the US, Mary Jo White, Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), recognised that a weak risk culture is the root cause of many large governancefailures, and that the board must set the ‘tone at the top’.

Culture also has an important role to play in risk management and risk appetite, and can pose significant risks that may affect an organisation’s long-term viability.

However, culture is much more about people than it is about rules. This guide argues that an ethical framework – which is different from a code of ethics or a code of conduct – should sit at the heart of the governance framework of an organisation. An ethical framework includes a clearly espoused purpose, supported by values and principles.

There is no doubt that increasing attention is being given to the ethical foundations of an organisation as a driving force of culture, and one method of achieving consistency of organisational conduct is to build an ethical framework in which employees can function effectively by achieving clarity about what the organisation deems to be a ‘good’ or a ‘right’ decision.

Culture can be measured by looking at the extent to which the ethical framework of the organisation is perceived to be or is actually embedded within day-to-day practices. Yet measurement and evaluation of culture is in its early stages, and boards and senior management need to understand whether the culture they have is the culture they want.

In organisations with strong ethical cultures, the systems and processes of the organisation will align with the ethical framework. And people will use the ethical framework in the making of day-to-day decisions – both large and small.

Setting and embedding a clear ethical framework is not just the role of the board and senior management – all areas can play a role. This publication provides high-level guidance to these different roles:

The board is responsible for setting the tone at the top. The board should set the ethical foundations of the organisation through the ethical framework. Consistently, the board needs to be assured that the ethical framework is embedded within the organisation’s systems, processes and culture.

Management is responsible for implementing and monitoring the desired culture as defined and set by the board. They are also responsible for demonstrating leadership of the culture.

Human resources (HR) is fundamental in shaping, reinforcing and changing corporate culture within an organisation. HR drives organisational change programs that ensure cultural alignment with the ethical framework of the organisation. HR provides alignment to the ethical framework through recruitment, orientation, training, performance management, remuneration and other incentives.

Internal audit assesses how culture is being managed and monitored, and can provide an independent view of the current corporate culture.

External audit provides an independent review of an entity’s financial affairs according to legislative requirements, and provides the audit committee with valuable, objective insight into aspects of the entity’s governance and internal controls including its risk management.

 

 


*Joanne Desjardins est administratrice de sociétés et consultante en gouvernance. Elle possède plus de 18 années d’expérience comme avocate et comme consultante en gouvernance, en stratégie et en gestion des ressources humaines. Elle est constamment à l’affût des derniers développements en gouvernance et publie des articles sur le sujet.

Quand les opinions d’un président de compagnie deviennent-elles un sujet de préoccupation pour le CA ? | Un cas pratique


Voici un cas publié, sur le site de Julie Garland McLellan, qui met l’accent sur une problématique particulière pouvant ébranler la réputation d’une entreprise.

Quand une déclaration d’un président sur les médias sociaux (notamment Facebook) constitue-t-elle une entorse à la saine gestion d’une entreprise ? Comment un président peut-il faire connaître son point de vue sur une politique gouvernementale sans affecter la réputation de l’entreprise ?

Qui est responsable de proposer une stratégie pour réparer les pots cassés. Dans ce cas, à mon avis, le président du conseil est appelé à intervenir pour éviter les débordements sur la place publique et résorber une crise potentielle de réputation, le président sortant Finneas a également un rôle important à jouer.

Le cas est bref, mais présente la situation de manière assez explicite ; puis, trois experts se prononcent sur le dilemme que vit le président du conseil.

Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont toujours les bienvenus.

 

Risques associés aux communications publiques des CEO sur les réseaux sociaux | un cas pratique

 

 

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « communications publique »

 

Finneas chairs a medium-sized listed company board. He has been with the company through a very successful CEO transition and is enjoying the challenge of helping the new CEO to hone his leadership of the company.

The CEO has proved a good choice and the staff are settled and productive. Recently the government announced a new policy that will most likely increase the cost of doing business and decrease export competitiveness.

The CEO is rightly concerned. He has already made some personal statements opposing the policy – calling it ‘Stupid and short-sighted industrial vandalism’ – on his Facebook page. Fortunately, the CEO keeps his Facebook account mainly for friends and family so Finneas felt the comments hadn’t attracted much attention.

At his most recent meeting with the CEO, Finneas heard that a journalist had seen the comments and called the CEO asking if he would be prepared to participate in an interview. The CEO is excited at the opportunity to stimulate public debate about the issue. Finneas is more concerned that the CEO will cause people to think poorly of himself, as a harsh critic, and of the company. There are a couple of days before the scheduled interview.

How should Finneas proceed?

Voir les réponses de trois experts de la gouvernance | http://www.mclellan.com.au/archive/dilemma_201811.html

Quels sont les efforts à faire pour obtenir un poste d’administrateur de société de nos jours ? | Un rappel utile


Plusieurs personnes très qualifiées me demandent comment procéder pour décrocher un poste d’administrateur de sociétés… rapidement.

Dans une période où les conseils d’administration ont des tailles de plus en plus restreintes ainsi que des exigences de plus en plus élevées, comment faire pour obtenir un poste, surtout si l’on a peu ou pas d’expérience comme CEO d’une entreprise ?

Je leur réponds qu’ils doivent :

(1) viser un secteur d’activité dans lequel ils ont une solide expertise

(2) bien comprendre ce qui les démarque (en revisitant leur CV)

(3) se demander comment leurs avantages comparatifs peuvent ajouter de la valeur à l’organisation

(4) explorer comment ils peuvent faire appel à leurs réseaux de contacts

(5) s’assurer de bien comprendre l’industrie et le modèle d’affaires de l’entreprise

(6) bien faire connaître leurs champs d’intérêt et leurs compétences en gouvernance, notamment en communiquant avec le président du comité de gouvernance de l’entreprise convoitée, et

(7) surtout… d’être patients !

Si vous n’avez pas suivi une formation en gouvernance, je vous encourage fortement à consulter les programmes du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS).

L’article qui suit présente une démarche de recherche d’un mandat d’administrateur en six étapes. L’article a été rédigé par Alexandra Reed Lajoux, directrice de la veille en gouvernance à la National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD).

Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, une brève introduction de l’article paru sur le blogue de Executive Career Insider, ainsi qu’une énumération des 6 éléments à considérer.

Je vous conseille de lire ce court article en vous rappelant qu’il est surtout destiné à un auditoire américain. Vous serez étonné de constater les similitudes avec la situation canadienne.

 

6 Steps to Becoming a Corporate Director This Year

 

Of all the career paths winding through the business world, few can match the prestige and fascination of corporate board service. The honor of being selected to guide the future of an enterprise, combined with the intellectual challenge of helping that enterprise succeed despite the odds, make directorship a strong magnet for ambition and a worthy goal for accomplishment.

Furthermore, the pay can be decent, judging from the NACD and Pearl Meyer & Partners director compensation studies. While directors do risk getting underpaid for the accordion-like hours they can be called upon to devote (typical pay is a flat retainer plus stock, but hours are as needed with no upper limit), it’s typically equivalent to CEO pay, if considered hour for hour. For example, a director can expect to work a good 250 hours for the CEO’s 2,500 and to receive nearly 10 percent of the CEO’s pay. In a public company that can provide marketable equity (typically half of pay), the sums can be significant—low six figures for the largest global companies.

Granted, directorship cannot be a first career. As explained in my previous post, boards offer only part time engagements and they typically seek candidates with track records. Yet directorship can be a fulfilling mid-career sideline, and a culminating vocation later in life—for those who retire from day to day work, but still have much to offer.

So, at any age or stage, how can you get on a board? Here are 6 steps, representing common wisdom and some of my own insights based on what I have heard from directors who have searched for – or who are seeking – that first board seat.

 

1. Recast your resume – and retune your mindset – for board service. Before you begin your journey, remember that the most important readers of your resume will be board members in search of a colleague. As such, although they will be duly impressed by your skills and accomplishments as an executive, as they read your resume or talk to you in an interview they will be looking and listening for clues that you will be an effective director. Clearly, any board positions you have had – including nonprofit board service, work on special committees or task forces and the like should be prominent on your resume and in your mind.

2. Integrate the right keywords. Language can be tuned accordingly to “directorspeak.” Any language that suggests you singlehandedly brought about results should be avoided. Instead, use language about “working with peers,” “dialogue,” and “stewardship” or “fiduciary group decisions, » « building consensus, » and so forth. While terms such as “risk oversight,” “assurance,” “systems of reporting and compliance,” and the like should not be overdone (boards are not politbureaus) they can add an aura of governance to an otherwise ordinary resume. This is not to suggest that you have two resumes – one for executive work and one for boards. Your use of boardspeak can enhance an existing executive resume. So consider updating the resume you have on Bluesteps and uploading that same resume to NACD’s Directors Registry.

3. Suit up and show up—or as my colleague Rochelle Campbell, NACD senior member engagement manager, often says, “network, network, network.” In a letter to military leaders seeking to make a transition From Battlefield to Boardroom (BtoB)through a training program NACD offers for military flag officers, Rochelle elaborates: “Make sure you attend your local chapter events—and while you are there don’t just shake hands, get to know people, talk to the speakers, and create opportunities for people to learn about you and your capabilities, not just your biography.” Rochelle, who has helped military leaders convey the value of their military leadership experience to boards, adds: “Ensure when you are networking, that you are doing so with a purpose. Include in your conversations that you are ready, qualified, and looking for a board seat.” Rochelle also points out the value of joining one’s local Chamber of Commerce and other business groups in relevant industries.

4. Cast a wide net. It is unrealistic for most candidates to aim for their first service to be on a major public company board. Your first board seat will likely be an unpaid position on a nonprofit board, or an equity-only spot on a start-up private board, or a small-cap company in the U.S. or perhaps oversees. Consider joining a director association outside the U.S. Through the Global Network of Director Institutes‘ website you can familiarize yourself with the world’s leading director associations. Some of them (for example, the Institute of Directors in New Zealand) send out regular announcements of open board seats, soliciting applications. BlueSteps members also have access to board opportunities, including one currently listed for in England seeking a non-executive director.

5. Join NACD. As long as you serve as a director on a board (including even a local nonprofit) you can join NACD as an individual where you will be assigned your own personal concierge and receive an arrange of benefits far too numerous to list here. (Please visit NACDonline.org to see them.)  If you seek additional board seats beyond the one you have, you will be particularly interested in our Directors Registry, where NACD members can upload their resumes and fill out a profile so seeking boards can find them. Another aspect will be your ability to attend local NACD chapter events, many of which are closed to nonmembers. You can also join NACD as a Boardroom Executive Affiliate no matter what your current professional status.

6. Pace yourself. If you are seeking a public company board seat, bear in mind that a typical search time will be more than two years, according to a relevant survey from executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles and the affinity group WomenCorporateDirectors. That’s how long on average that both female and male directors responding to the survey said it took for them to get on a board once they started an active campaign. (An earlier H&S/WCD survey had indicated that it took more time for women than for men, but that discrepancy seems to have evened out now – good news considering studies by Credit Suisse and others showing a connection between gender diversity and corporate performance.)  Remember that the two years is how long it took successful candidates to land a seat (people looking back from a boardroom seat on how long it took to get them there). If you average in the years spent by those who never get a board seat and gave up, the time would be longer. This can happen.


An Uphill Battle

Jim Kristie, longtime editor of Directors & Boards, once shared a poignant letter from one of his readers, whose all too valid complaint he called “protypical”:
When I turned 50, I felt like I had enough experience to add value to a public board of directors. I had served on private boards. I joined the National Association of Corporate Directors, and began soliciting smaller public companies to serve on their boards. I even solicited pink sheet companies. I solicited private equity firms to serve on the boards of portfolio companies. I signed up with headhunters, and Nasdaq Board Recruiting. In the last several years, I have sent my CV to hundreds of people, and made hundreds of telephone calls. I have been in the running, but so far no board positions.

Jim responded that the individual had done “all the right things” (thanks for the endorsement!) and steered him to additional relevant resources.

Similarly, a highly respected military flag officer, an Army general who spent two solid years looking for a board seat with help from NACD, called his search an “uphill battle.”  While four-star generals tend to attract invitations for board service, flag officers and others do not always get the attention they merit from recruiters and nominating committees. In correspondence to our CEO, he praised the BtoB program, but had some words of realism:
My experience over the past two years has convinced me that until sitting board room members see the value and diversity of thought that a B2B member brings, we will never see an appreciable rise in board room membership beyond the defense industry and even then, they only really value flag membership for the access they bring. The ‘requirements’  listed for new board members coming from industry will rarely match with a B2B resume and until such time that boards understand the value that comes with having a B2B member as part of their leadership team, they probably never will.

We’ve heard similar words from other kinds of leaders—from human resources directors to chief internal auditors, to university presidents. With so few board seats opening up every year, and with a strong leaning toward for-profit CEOs, it’s a real challenge to get through the boardroom door.

One of NACD’s long-term goals is to educate existing boards on the importance of welcoming these important forms of leadership, dispelling the notion that only a for-profit CEO can serve. For example, I happen to believe that a tested military leader can offer boards as much as or more than a civilian leader in the current high-risk environment. But no matter what your theatre of action, you must prepare for a long campaign. It’s worth the battle!

Les enjeux de la diffusion des informations stratégiques sur les réseaux sociaux


Ce matin un article de Alissa Amico*, paru sur le forum de Harvard Law School, a attiré mon attention parce que c’est sur un sujet qui fait couler beaucoup d’encre dans le domaine la gouvernance des entreprises publiques (cotées en bourse).

En effet, quels sont les moyens appropriés de diffusion et de divulgation des informations à l’ère des médias sociaux ? L’auteure fait le tour de la question en rappelant qu’il existe encore beaucoup d’ambiguïté dans l’acceptation des nouveaux outils de communication.

On le sait, la SEC a réagi promptement aux annonces de Elon Musk, PDG et Chairman de Telsa, faites par le biais de Twitter qui ont été jugées trompeuses et qui ne respectaient pas le principe d’une diffusion de l’information à la portée de tous les actionnaires.

L’auteure rappelle que l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers français a pris une position ferme à ce propos en exigeant que les entreprises divulguent leurs réseaux sociaux privilégiés de communication sur leur site Internet.

La conclusion de l’article est révélatrice de grands changements à l’égard de la diffusion d’information stratégique.

The ultimate twist of irony is of course that the SEC, investigating Tesla and its CEO, is part of the same government whose President’s tweeting activity has been far from uncontroversial. Both Mr. Musk’s and Mr. Trump’s use of Twitter highlight that—whether we like it or not—social media may soon be the most consulted sort of media. Its impact, in both corporate or political circles, needs hence to be considered by policymakers seriously. It is clear that every boat—whether corporate or political—needs a captain responsible for setting the course and communicating it to the lighthouse to avoid collisions and confusion at sea. Yet, captains are not pirates, and in the era of social media, regulators need to devise new rules of the game to avoid investor collusion and collision.

Qu’en pensez-vous ?

Bonne lecture !

 

On Elon Musk, Donald Trump, and Corporate Governance

 

 

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « Elon Musk SEC »
SEC sues Tesla CEO Elon Musk for ‘misleading’ tweet »- ABC News

 

There was something Trumpian in Elon Musk’s tweet about taking Tesla private. “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured”, he boldly and succinctly announced on August 7, claiming that the necessary capital has been confirmed from the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the Saudi sovereign fund that is seeking to become the region’s largest according to the ambitions of its government, including through the much-debated public offering of Saudi Aramco.

Like in a Mexican soap opera, news about the PIF raising fresh capital through the transfer of its 70% stake in SABIC, the Saudi $100 billion petrochemicals giant and the largest listed company in the Kingdom to Saudi Aramco, as well its talks with Tesla’s rival Lucid followed shortly, immediately highlighting the perils of instant communication. As it turns out, tweeting 280-character messages is straightforward, explaining them takes a little more character and significantly more characters.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has reacted promptly, issuing a subpoena to Tesla to probe into the accuracy of its communication to investors. Elon Musk is unfortunately not the first CEO to pay for taking to Twitter. Nestle’s attempt at humor on Twitter, which likened a massacre of Mexican students to its candy bar, resulted in calls for boycott, ultimately forcing the company to erase the message and apologize. Even the CEO of Twitter itself, Jack Dorsey, has had to apologize for one of his personal tweets, which unlike Tesla and Nestle cases, had nothing to do with his company.

Indeed, the emergence of new communication channels has occurred at a faster pace than regulation on how these should be employed by companies has emerged, whilst over-excited executives have taken to social media in attempt to build hype around their companies. In the world where the number of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook followers counts more than the number of public investors, social media has the potential of becoming the main channel for communication in the corporate world.

Although this phenomenon has gone largely unnoticed, its implications need to be considered in a wider context that is beyond this immediate Bermuda Triangle involving Mr. Musk, the PIF and Tesla. In fact, this episode raises two important and distinct questions: first, who should be able to speak on behalf of public shareholding companies in order to ensure the accuracy of communication, and second, how should this communication be made such that it reaches its ultimate target, the investor community.

In developed markets such as the United States, where Tesla is incorporated, disclosure by public companies is subject to a myriad of regulations including Rule 10b-5—first issued 70 years ago—which prohibits the release or omission of material information, resulting in fraud or deceit. It is also subject to a more recent Fair Disclosure Regulation which essentially forbids companies from releasing non-public material information to third parties, effectively stamping out the practice of selective disclosure by companies to specific investors.

These regulations provide the colorful context behind the SEC’s investigation into Mr. Musk’s unfortunate tweet, allowing the regulator to question whether he had misled investors: that is, whether funding for taking Tesla private has indeed been “secured”. Another issue—and one not raised in the media—is whether Twitter can effectively be considered as an appropriate means of communication to the investor community. In the United States, where 70% of public share ownership today is in the hands of institutional investors, this is a moot point.

Indeed, the SEC has officially allowed listed companies to use social media in 2013, prompted by an investigation into a Facebook post by the Netflix CEO Reed Hastings about the company passing a billion hours watched for the first time. The SEC did not penalize him and decided that henceforth social media could be used for communicating corporate announcements as long as investors are warned that this would be the case.

In the context of emerging markets however, this position would be potentially quite dangerous. In Saudi Arabia for example, home to the PIF—Tesla’s alleged buyer—trading in the stock market is 90% retail, whereas its underlying ownership is largely institutional. Communicating company news via social media presupposes that all investors have equal access to it, which may not necessarily be the case in retail marketplaces. Regulators in emerging markets, where guidelines on the use of social media for corporate announcements are generally lacking, would do well to address this before executives take to Twitter and Facebook.

They would need to keep in mind however, that habits of emerging market investors may not have shifted fast enough to be comfortable in the world of Twitter. In Egypt for example, the officially recognised channel for publishing financial results remains the country’s newspapers. Expecting investors to run from conventional—not to say outdated—means of communication, to judiciously tracking social media announcements appears overly ambitious.

Using social media as a means of communicating material corporate news raises another non-semantic point which is equally important to address in both emerging and developed markets. It is not only tweets of CEOs like Elon Musk that have the potential to affect share prices and investor perceptions. If CFOs, CROs, CIOs, COOs and other C-suite members take to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other platforms to offer their interpretation of company developments, the potential impact on investors could be quite disheartening.

Just like the CEO’s or the CFO’s ability to write a cheque is circumscribed by internal controls and board oversight of material transactions related to mergers and acquisitions for instance, their ability to speak on behalf of their companies should be addressed by policies including specific approval processes. This would effectively limit the possibility of senior executives or board members using their iPhone as a Megaphone, instead requiring rigorous processes to be introduced such that social media announcements are coherent with other disclosure channels and indeed with corporate strategy.

From a governance perspective, further thought should be given to centralizing the communication function within companies in the hands of the Head of Investor Relations or equivalent. Indeed, given the value of information in our era of fast-paced communication powered by social media and fast-paced stock exchanges powered by algorithmic and high-frequency trading, the role of a Chief Communication Officer may be justified in large publicly listed companies, just as the role of a Chief Risk Officer reporting to the board has been introduced in many large organisations following the financial crisis.

While forcing companies in a straightjacket of yet more corporate governance rules on how they should handle their corporate communications may be unwise, some thought about legal distinctions and limits between what is considered personal and corporate announcements appears warranted. Investors may need to be told that unless corporate announcements come from official company channels—which personal Twitter accounts are not—their interpretation of tweets by excited executives are to be made at their own peril, not subject to usual investor protections.

Likewise, publicly-traded companies need to inform the investor community of what constitutes their official communication channels and ensure that financial and non-financial information announced through these is pre-approved, synchronized and not in conflict with existing regulations. Some regulators such as the French securities regulator, Authorité des Marches Financiers, has done so almost 5 years ago, recommending that companies specify their social media accounts on their website as well as establish a charter addressing how executives and staff are to use their personal social media accounts.

The ultimate twist of irony is of course that the SEC, investigating Tesla and its CEO, is part of the same government whose President’s tweeting activity has been far from uncontroversial. Both Mr. Musk’s and Mr. Trump’s use of Twitter highlight that—whether we like it or not—social media may soon be the most consulted sort of media. Its impact, in both corporate or political circles, needs hence to be considered by policymakers seriously. It is clear that every boat—whether corporate or political—needs a captain responsible for setting the course and communicating it to the lighthouse to avoid collisions and confusion at sea. Yet, captains are not pirates, and in the era of social media, regulators need to devise new rules of the game to avoid investor collusion and collision.

 


*Alissa Amico is the Managing Director of GOVERN. This post is based on a GOVERN memorandum by Ms. Amico.

Comment présenter ses arguments lors d’une AGA dont les membres sont considérés comme réfractaires à une position du conseil ? | Un cas de communication


Aujourd’hui, je partage avec vous un cas publié sur le site de Julie Garland McLellan qui demande beaucoup d’analyse, de stratégie et de jugement.

Dans ce cas, Xandra, la présidente du comité d’audit d’une petite association professionnelle, propose une solution courageuse afin de mettre un terme au déclin du membership de l’organisation : une diminution des frais de cotisation en échange d’une hausse des frais de service et des frais associés à la formation.

La proposition a été jugée inéquitable par les membres, qui ont soulevé leur grande désapprobation, en la condamnant sur les réseaux sociaux.

Plusieurs membres insistent pour que cette décision soit mise au vote lors de l’AGA, et que le PDG soit démis de ses fonctions.

Étant donné que les règlements internes de l’organisation ne permettent pas aux membres de voter sur ces questions en assemblée générale (puisque c’est une prérogative du CA), le président du conseil demande à Xandra de préparer une défense pour le rejet de la requête.

Xandra est cependant consciente que la stratégie de communication arrêtée devra faire l’objet d’une analyse judicieuse afin de ne pas mettre la survie de l’organisation en danger.

Comment la responsable doit-elle procéder pour présenter une argumentation convaincante ?

La situation est exposée de manière assez synthétique ; puis, trois experts se prononcent sur le dilemme que vit Xandra.

Je vous invite donc à prendre connaissance de ces avis, en cliquant sur le lien ci-dessous, et me faire part vos commentaires.

Bonne lecture !

 

Communication des propositions du conseil lors des AGA réfractaires

 

 

This month our case study investigates the options for a board to respond to shareholders who know that they want something but don’t quite know how to get it. I hope you enjoy thinking about the governance and strategic implications of this dilemma:

Xandra chairs the audit committee of a small professional association. She has a strong working relationship with the chair and CEO who are implementing a strategic reform based on ‘user pays services’ to redress a fall in membership numbers and hence revenue. The strategy bravely introduced a reduced membership fee compensated by charges for advisory services and an increase in the cost of member events and education.

Some members felt that this was unfair as they used more services than others and would now pay a higher total amount each year. They have voiced their concerns through the company’s Facebook page and in an ‘open’ letter addressed to the board. In the letter they have said that they want to put a motion to the next AGM asking for a vote on the new pricing strategy and for the CEO to be dismissed. They copied the letter to a journalist in a national paper. The journalist has not contacted the company for comment or published the letter.

The CEO has checked the bylaws and the open letter does not meet the technical requirements for requisitioning a motion (indeed the authors seem to have confused their right to requisition an EGM with the right of members to speak at the AGM and ask questions of the board and auditor).

As the only person qualified in directorship on the association board, the Chair has asked Xandra « how can we push back against this request? »

Xandra is not sure that it is wise to rebuff a clear request for engagement with the members on an issue that is important for the survival of their association. She agrees that putting a motion to a members’ meeting could be dangerous. She also agrees that the matter needs to be handled sensitively and away from emotive online fora where passions are running unexpectedly high

How should she advise her chair?

Rôle du conseil d’administration en cas de gestion de crises | Les défis de Facebook


Voici un article qui met en garde les structures de gouvernance telles que Facebook.

L’article publié sur le site de Directors&Boards par Eve Tahmincioglu soulève plusieurs questions fondamentales :

(1) L’actionnariat à vote multiple conduit-il à une structure de gouvernance convenable et acceptable ?

(2) Pourquoi le principe de gouvernance stipulant une action, un vote, est-il bafoué dans le cas de plusieurs entreprises de la Silicone Valley ?

(3) Quel est le véritable pouvoir d’un conseil d’administration où les fondateurs sont majoritaires par le jeu des actions à classe multiple ?

(4) Doit-on réglementer pour rétablir la position de suprématie du conseil d’administration dirigé par des administrateurs indépendants ?

(5) Dans une situation de gestion de crise comme celle qui confronte Facebook, quel est le rôle d’un administrateur indépendant, président de conseil ?

(6) Les médias cherchent à connaître la position du PDG sans se questionner sur les responsabilités des administrateurs. Est-ce normal en gestion de crise ?

Je vous invite à lire l’article ci-dessous et à exprimer vos idées sur les principes de bonne gouvernance appliqués aux entreprises publiques contrôlées par les fondateurs.

Bonne lecture !

 

Facebook Confronts Its Biggest Challenge: But where’s the “high-powered” board?

 

 

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Facebook is arguably facing one of the toughest challenges the company has ever faced. But the slow and tepid response from leadership, including the boards of directors, concerns governance experts.

The scandal involving data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica allegedly led to 50 million Facebook users’ private information being compromised but a public accounting from Facebook’s CEO and chairman Mark Zuckerberg has been slow coming.

Could this be a governance breakdown?

“This high-powered board needs to engage more strongly,” says Steve Odland, CEO of the Committee for Economic Development and a board member for General Mills, Inc. and Analogic Corporation. Facebook’s board includes Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings; Susan D. Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of The Gates Foundation; the former chairman of American Express Kenneth I. Chenault; and PayPal cofounder Peter A. Thiel, among others.

Odland points out that Facebook has two powerful and well-known executives, Zuckerberg and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who have been publicly out there on every subject, but largely absent on this one.

While Zuckerberg released a written statement late today on his Facebook page, he didn’t talk directly to the public, or take media questions. He is reportedly planning to appear on CNN tonight.

It was a long time coming for many.

“They need to get out and publicly talk about this quickly,” Odland maintains. “They didn’t have to have all the answers. But this vacuum of communications gets filled by others, and that’s not good for the company.”

Indeed, politicians, the Federal Trade Commission and European politicians are stepping in, he says, “and that could threaten the whole platform.”

Typically, he adds, it comes back to management to engage and use the board, but “I don’t think Zuckerberg is all that experienced in that regard. This is where the board needs to help him.”

But how much power does the board have?

Charles Elson, director of the University of Delaware’s Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance, sees the dual-class ownership structure of Facebook that gives the majority of voting power to Zuckerberg and thus undermines shareholders and the board’s power.

“It’s his board because of the dual-class stock. There is nothing [directors] can do; neither can the shareholders and a lawsuit would yield really nothing,” he explains.

Elson has been warning against such structures for some time, including in a piece for this publication on Snap’s dual-class IPO.

He and his coauthor Craig K. Ferrere wrote:

Increasingly, company founders have been opting to shore up control by creating stock ownership structures that undercut shareholder voting power, where only a decade ago almost all chose the standard and accepted one-share, one-vote model.

Now the Snap Inc. initial public offering (IPO) takes it even further with the first-ever solely non-voting stock model. It’s a stock ownership structure that further undercuts shareholder influence, undermines corporate governance and will likely shift the burden of investment grievances to the courts.

By offering stock in the company with no shareholder vote at all, Snap — the company behind the popular mobile-messaging app Snapchat that’s all about giving a voice to the many — has acknowledged that public voting power at companies with a hierarchy of stock ownership classes is only a fiction. And it begs the question: Why does Snap even need a board?

But some critics have waved Elson’s assertions away because so many tech companies, including Facebook, have been doing well by investors.

Alas, Facebook’s shares have tanked as a result of the Cambridge Analytica revelations, and it’s unclear what’s happening among the leaders at Facebook to deal with the crisis.

Facebook’s board, advises Odland, needs to get involved and help create privacy policies and if those are violated, they need to follow up.

“This is a relatively young company in a relatively young industry that has grown to be a powerhouse and incredibly important,” he explains.  Given that, he says, there are “new forms of risk management this board needs to tackle.”

Questions que la direction des organisations doit se poser eu égard au harcèlement sexuel au travail


Voici un sujet d’actualité brûlant sur le harcèlement sexuel au travail et les questions que le management des entreprises doit se poser à cet égard.

L’article publié par Arthur H. Kohn* sur le site de Harvard Law School on Corporate Governance, est très pertinent, autant pour la direction des organisations, que pour les administrateurs de sociétés.

Les auteurs présentent une série de huit (8) questions fondamentales auxquelles les responsables doivent répondre afin de bien s’acquitter de leurs responsabilités.

Il faut voir les questions comme une check-list des activités de diagnostic eu égard aux situations de harcèlement sexuel et de diverses formes d’inconduite.

J’espère que cette lecture sera utile aux gestionnaires soucieux de la qualité de l’environnement de travail des entreprises.

Bonne lecture !

 

Sexual Harassment in Today’s Workplace

 

 

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In recent months, sexual harassment allegations against well-known figures across a growing number of industries have become a common feature in news headlines. In the wake of these allegations, many companies have concluded that their current policies and procedures related to sexual harassment and discrimination are inadequate. Against the backdrop of this rapidly evolving landscape, companies are considering how to improve their policies and procedures not only to appropriately and effectively respond to allegations of sexual harassment, but also to deter inappropriate behavior going forward and foster an environment of openness, diversity and inclusion in their workplaces. To that end, below are 8 key questions that companies should be asking themselves in developing policies and procedures to confront sexual harassment and other forms of misconduct in today’s workplace.

 

The 8 Questions Companies Should Be Asking Themselves

 

1. Have we thought broadly, globally and proactively in developing our policies and procedures about workplace harassment?

 

Under both U.S. federal and state law, companies are incentivized to have policies and procedures in place that address sexual harassment and contain clear guidelines about what to do in the event an employee is sexually harassed. In addition to ensuring that their sexual harassment policies comply with applicable federal and state law, companies should consider developing other internal policies and trainings for employees and executives concerning inappropriate, offensive, or abusive behavior, including:

  1. Policies concerning bullying, discrimination, retaliation, consensual relationships and nepotism.
  2. Code of conduct, affirmatively establishing the expected company culture.
  3. Trainings on unconscious bias, sensitivity in the workplace and behavioral responses to harassment and discrimination (e.g., understanding the “freeze” response to harassment).

 

In developing these policies and trainings, consideration should be given to the fact that the public’s perception of what constitutes harassment or inappropriate behavior has already begun, and will continue, to change. Likewise, some conduct that is unlikely to provide a basis for a legal claim against a company under the current state or federal law applicable to the company, may be the subject of future legislation. In addition, thinking not just about deterring illegal conduct but about fostering an environment in which such conduct is unlikely to occur is important. Training on unconscious bias, sensitivity in the workplace and behavioral responses to harassment and discrimination are just some ways in which the culture of a company can be improved.

As part of a comprehensive approach to developing policies on harassment, companies may also consider examining perspectives on harassment in foreign jurisdictions, including looking to local rules for guidance. Global organizations should not only adopt uniform policies across geographical areas that reflect global standards of conduct, but also should make sure that any local law requirements are adopted through addenda in relevant jurisdictions.

 

2. Do our employees trust the company’s procedure for reporting harassment?

 

If the behavior complained of is not expressly covered by a company’s sexual harassment policy or applicable law, employees may not think they have recourse through the company’s reporting procedures. Even if a company has put in place a clear procedure for reporting violations, employees may not use it if they do not trust that their complaints will be investigated thoroughly and without any repercussions. Employees may have the perception that the priorities of the individuals designated to receive complaints are more aligned with the accused or that these designated individuals have an obligation to presume innocence. Employees may moreover fear that their allegations will be perceived as overreactions or that they will face retaliation, particularly where the alleged perpetrator is a senior person or high performer. Where this is the case, employees may decide to escalate their complaints by going outside of their companies’ reporting procedures, including by sharing their stories more broadly:

  1. through the press (Harvey Weinstein);
  2. on social media (#MeToo);
  3. on anonymous forums that are, or may become, open to the public (the “Sh%&ty Media Men” spreadsheet, Glassdoor.com, Blind conversation app); and
  4. calling anonymous hotlines set up by organizations outside the company (National Organizations for Women; Equal rights advocates).

 

In light of this, companies should take steps to ensure that their human resources (“H.R.”) functions are sufficiently staffed and trained on how to handle concerns about harassment that they encounter outside of regular reporting channels. Companies may also consider having those in H.R. functions proactively monitor forums and other websites for allegations of harassment as a complement to their existing processes. A company’s failure to respond to allegations made in the press or on social media or to provide appropriate reporting mechanisms for harassment claims may contribute to a determination that the company has not exercised reasonable care in preventing and addressing harassment, thereby exposing the company to liability. In addition to legal risks, the publication of harassment allegations can also expose a company to reputational harm, which may be mitigated by a company’s proactive response to the allegations.

Companies should also take steps to ensure that all information concerning harassment allegations, even if not raised through the company’s reporting procedures or raised anonymously, is shared with appropriate individuals within the organization and also promptly escalated to senior management or the board. In order to comprehensively address allegations of harassment or unhealthy workplace cultures, it is essential that all known information about alleged violations be promptly and regularly escalated to senior management or the board.

 

3. Who is responsible for receiving complaints and do they have adequate resources and training?

 

Even if a company’s reporting procedures designate particular individuals as responsible for receiving complaints, employees may bring allegations to non-designated employees, including their managers and mentors. Employees may also report allegations directly to senior management. For example, recently developed apps like AllVoices enable victims of sexual harassment or discrimination to anonymously report incidents to a company’s CEO and board. Companies should thus ensure that senior management, as well as all employees and others who may receive complaints of harassment, receive training on how to respond to allegations of harassment and are well-versed on how to promptly escalate complaints within the organization. Employees should be reminded that they should never discourage someone from bringing forward an allegation of harassment and that any such allegations must be taken seriously and reported properly. As noted above, companies should also ensure that all information relevant to harassment allegations is shared with the appropriate individuals and escalated to senior management or the board on a regular basis.

Companies should also consider taking steps to assess the work environment before a complaint of harassment arises. For example, companies may consider conducting anonymous surveys of employees on their experiences in the workplace and the current harassment procedures, administering “climate assessments” in particular areas of the business, including H.R., holding skip-level meetings for senior management to gain insight into the culture at various levels of the organization, and establishing a clear open door policy to encourage openness between employees and senior management.

 

4. Who should be in charge of conducting investigations and do those in charge have adequate resources and independence?

 

Substantial consideration should be given to who is in charge of conducting an investigation into complaints of sexual harassment and to whether those directing the investigation are sufficiently independent. Companies may consider forming a committee consisting of representatives from different parts of the company to direct any harassment related investigations, including determining who should have responsibility for conducting the investigation. Depending on the nature of the allegations, an investigation by personnel in an H.R. function may be appropriate and cost effective. For allegations involving senior management or that involve pervasive behavior by a group or area within a company, a company may also consider bringing in outside counsel. In that scenario, consideration should be given to who retains the counsel and whether counsel is sufficiently independent.

Companies should also ensure that their investigations are conducted with the utmost confidentiality and assure employees that their harassment complaints are confidential and that they will be protected against retaliation. If, however, a company ultimately decides to settle with a complaining employee, it may consider reevaluating the use of non-disclosure agreements (“NDAs”), either in settlements or in existing employment contracts, which could be perceived as “hush money” or as perpetuating abusive work environments by protecting perpetrators, and which are the subject of proposed legislation in some state legislatures.

 

5. Has a disclosure obligation been triggered?

 

Additional considerations may apply with respect to responding to and preventing misconduct by senior executives. Such misconduct can create or exacerbate an abusive work environment and lead to serious reputational injury for the company. If allegations are made against an executive officer, the company should determine when and how to involve the board in dealing with those allegations. Public companies should also keep in mind that the change in employment conditions, resignation or termination of certain executives must be disclosed on a Form 8-K in the U.S., and that other foreign jurisdictions may have similar disclosure requirements.

Companies may also consider whether to review their contracts with senior executives to ensure that the contracts include provisions that require and incentivize compliance with the company’s behavioral expectations. To that end, some companies have chosen to consider, with respect to their new and existing contracts, what rights they have to terminate senior executives for cause for violations of the company’s harassment policies and to deny indemnification in such situations. One reason to consider negotiating arrangements with these protections in place is that payment of large severance packages can cause reputational harm to a company based on the perception that it is being “soft” on executives whose behavior violated its policies or rewarding executives for inappropriate behavior. On the other hand, these negotiations may present real challenges.

 

6. Does senior management communicate the message that harassment of any type will not be tolerated?

 

The adoption of strong internal codes of conduct, policies and robust procedures will have limited efficacy if senior management does not make clear that it will not tolerate harassment of any kind or by any perpetrator. Management’s failure to swiftly investigate claims of harassment or to penalize abusive behavior can exacerbate an already hostile work environment. Further, as noted above, consideration should be given to ensuring that management cannot be reasonably perceived as rewarding senior executives who do not comply with the company’s behavioral expectations or silencing victims of abuse.

Companies should encourage senior management to takes steps to facilitate openness and increased communication with their employees even before a complaint arises. Senior management should also regularly remind employees of the existence of their company’s policies and procedures related to harassment and should participate in trainings.

 

7. Is the board sufficiently informed on the company’s policies and procedures relating to sexual harassment?

 

Board members may be exposed to claims of breach of fiduciary duty following claims of sexual harassment perpetrated by executive officers or other employees of the company. In particular, public companies may face serious financial consequences following allegations of harassment at the company as a result of such claims. Boards should also be aware that there are financial risks that are not directly tied to payment of civil damages or to legal and remediation costs related to sexual harassment. The media has recently reported numerous incidents of allegations where executives have been accused of sexual harassment and other misconduct, and the companies have seen their stock price fall or lost advertising revenue, customers and business opportunities. In light of these risks and, most importantly, to protect the safety of the company’s employees, the board should periodically review the company’s sexual harassment policies, including training and reporting channels. The board should also ensure that it is being informed of violations of these policies, as appropriate, and has a sense of the day-to-day workplace culture as it relates to sexual harassment and other forms of inappropriate workplace behavior.

 

8. Does the company have effective standards, policies and processes, including diligence processes, to address sexual harassment issues at potential investment targets and existing subsidiaries and/or portfolio companies?

 

Companies may face major reputational and financial repercussions based on the misconduct of other companies that they have acquired or in which they have invested. During the diligence process, consideration should be given to inquiring into the target’s or partner’s implementation and maintenance of harassment policies and procedures, the existence of appropriate controls, and whether the investment target or its key personnel have a history of incidents, investigations or allegations of harassment issues. In addition, in appropriate circumstances, consideration should be given to engaging local counsel for investments outside the U.S. to consider whether the company’s policies comply with applicable local rules, and the impact any non-compliance could have post acquisition.

Private equity sponsors and other similar organizations should consider reevaluating policies and procedures at existing portfolio companies and subsidiaries in light of recent developments, and may further consider putting in place reporting requirements to ensure that portfolio companies and subsidiaries have implemented effective policies and ongoing training. Companies may also consider steps that can be taken internally to effectively implement appropriate policies, procedures, and training at their portfolio companies and subsidiaries. For example, consideration should be given to whether a company can leverage its own practices and policies across its portfolio companies and subsidiaries.

 

Conclusion

 

Sexual harassment related allegations are increasingly making headlines and rapidly changing perceptions concerning harassment and abusive behaviors. While the allegations initially centered on the entertainment industry, sexual harassment in the workplace has now become a major issue in a growing number of industries, including technology and finance. Companies across all industries are responding by developing strategies for tackling harassment in the workplace and minimizing risk by implementing strong policies, procedures, and complaint systems. To do so, it is essential that companies ask the right questions.

__________________________________________

*Arthur H. KohnFrancesca L. Odell, and Jennifer Kennedy Park are partners at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. This post is based on a Cleary Gottlieb publication by Mr. Kohn, Ms. Odell, Ms. Park, Pamela L. MarcoglieseKimberly R. Spoerri, and Louise M. Parent.

Rôle du CA dans l’établissement d’une forte culture organisationnelle | Un guide pratique


Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, un document partagé par Joanne Desjardins*, qui porte sur le rôle du CA dans l’établissement d’une solide culture organisationnelle.

C’est certainement l’un des guides les plus utiles sur le sujet. Il s’agit d’une référence essentielle en matière de gouvernance.

Je vous invite à lire le sommaire exécutif. Vos commentaires sont appréciés.

 

Managing Culture | A good practical guide – December 2017

 

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Executive summary

 

In Australia, the regulators Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have both signalled that there are significant risks around poor corporate culture. ASIC recognises that culture is at the heart of how an organisation and its staff think and behave, while APRA directs boards to define the institution’s risk appetite and establish a risk management strategy, and to ensure management takes the necessary steps to monitor and manage material risks. APRA takes a broad approach to ‘risk culture’ – includingrisk emerging from a poor culture.

Regulators across the globe are grappling with the issue of risk culture and how best to monitor it. While regulators generally do not dictate a cultural framework, they have identified common areas that may influence an organisation’s risk culture: leadership, good governance, translating values and principles into practices, measurement and accountability, effective communication and challenge, recruitment and incentives. Ultimately, the greatest risk lies in organisations that are believed to be hypocritical when it comes to the espoused versus actual culture.

The board is ultimately responsible for the definition and oversight of culture. In the US, Mary Jo White, Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), recognised that a weak risk culture is the root cause of many large governancefailures, and that the board must set the ‘tone at the top’.

Culture also has an important role to play in risk management and risk appetite, and can pose significant risks that may affect an organisation’s long-term viability.

However, culture is much more about people than it is about rules. This guide argues that an ethical framework – which is different from a code of ethics or a code of conduct – should sit at the heart of the governance framework of an organisation. An ethical framework includes a clearly espoused purpose, supported by values and principles.

There is no doubt that increasing attention is being given to the ethical foundations of an organisation as a driving force of culture, and one method of achieving consistency of organisational conduct is to build an ethical framework in which employees can function effectively by achieving clarity about what the organisation deems to be a ‘good’ or a ‘right’ decision.

Culture can be measured by looking at the extent to which the ethical framework of the organisation is perceived to be or is actually embedded within day-to-day practices. Yet measurement and evaluation of culture is in its early stages, and boards and senior management need to understand whether the culture they have is the culture they want.

In organisations with strong ethical cultures, the systems and processes of the organisation will align with the ethical framework. And people will use the ethical framework in the making of day-to-day decisions – both large and small.

Setting and embedding a clear ethical framework is not just the role of the board and senior management – all areas can play a role. This publication provides high-level guidance to these different roles:

The board is responsible for setting the tone at the top. The board should set the ethical foundations of the organisation through the ethical framework. Consistently, the board needs to be assured that the ethical framework is embedded within the organisation’s systems, processes and culture.

Management is responsible for implementing and monitoring the desired culture as defined and set by the board. They are also responsible for demonstrating leadership of the culture.

Human resources (HR) is fundamental in shaping, reinforcing and changing corporate culture within an organisation. HR drives organisational change programs that ensure cultural alignment with the ethical framework of the organisation. HR provides alignment to the ethical framework through recruitment, orientation, training, performance management, remuneration and other incentives.

Internal audit assesses how culture is being managed and monitored, and can provide an independent view of the current corporate culture.

External audit provides an independent review of an entity’s financial affairs according to legislative requirements, and provides the audit committee with valuable, objective insight into aspects of the entity’s governance and internal controls including its risk management.

 

 


*Joanne Desjardins est administratrice de sociétés et consultante en gouvernance. Elle possède plus de 18 années d’expérience comme avocate et comme consultante en gouvernance, en stratégie et en gestion des ressources humaines. Elle est constamment à l’affût des derniers développements en gouvernance et publie des articles sur le sujet.

Dix thèmes majeurs pour les administrateurs en 2016 | Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance


Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, les dix thèmes les plus importants pour les administrateurs de sociétés selon Kerry E. Berchem, associé du groupe de pratiques corporatives à la firme Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Cet article est paru aujourd’hui sur le blogue le Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance.

Bien qu’il y ait peu de changements dans l’ensemble des priorités cette année, on peut quand même noter :

(1) l’accent crucial accordé au long terme ;

(2) Une bonne gestion des relations avec les actionnaires dans la foulée du nombre croissant d’activités menées par les activistes ;

(3) Une supervision accrue des activités liées à la cybersécurité…

Pour plus de détails sur chaque thème, je vous propose la lecture synthèse de l’article ci-dessous.

Bonne lecture !

 

Ten Topics for Directors in 2016 |   Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance

 

U.S. public companies face a host of challenges as they enter 2016. Here is our annual list of hot topics for the boardroom in the coming year:

  1. Oversee the development of long-term corporate strategy in an increasingly interdependent and volatile world economy
  2. Cultivate shareholder relations and assess company vulnerabilities as activist investors target more companies with increasing success
  3. Oversee cybersecurity as the landscape becomes more developed and cyber risk tops director concerns
  4. Oversee risk management, including the identification and assessment of new and emerging risks
  5. Assess the impact of social media on the company’s business plans
  6. Stay abreast of Delaware law developments and other trends in M&A
  7. Review and refresh board composition and ensure appropriate succession
  8. Monitor developments that could impact the audit committee’s already heavy workload
  9. Set appropriate executive compensation as CEO pay ratios and income inequality continue to make headlines
  10. Prepare for and monitor developments in proxy access

Strategic Planning Considerations

Strategic planning continues to be a high priority for directors and one to which they want to devote more time. Figuring out where the company wants to—and where it should want to—go and how to get there is not getting any easier, particularly as companies find themselves buffeted by macroeconomic and geopolitical events over which they have no control.

axes

In addition to economic and geopolitical uncertainty, a few other challenges and considerations for boards to keep in mind as they strategize for 2016 and beyond include:

finding ways to drive top-line growth

focusing on long-term goals and enhancing long-term shareholder value in the face of mounting pressures to deliver short-term results

the effect of low oil and gas prices

figuring out whether and when to deploy growing cash stockpiles

assessing the opportunities and risks of climate change and resource scarcity

addressing corporate social responsibility.

Shareholder Activism

Shareholder activism and “suggestivism” continue to gain traction. With the success that activists have experienced throughout 2015, coupled with significant new money being allocated to activist funds, there is no question that activism will remain strong in 2016.

In the first half of 2015, more than 200 U.S. companies were publicly subjected to activist demands, and approximately two-thirds of these demands were successful, at least in part. [1] A much greater number of companies are actually targeted by activism, as activists report that less than a third of their campaigns actually become public knowledge. [2] Demands have continued, and will continue, to vary: from requests for board representation, the removal of officers and directors, launching a hostile bid, advocating specific business strategies and/or opining on the merit of M&A transactions. But one thing is clear: the demands are being heard. According to a recent survey of more than 350 mutual fund managers, half had been contacted by an activist in the past year, and 45 percent of those contacted decided to support the activist. [3]

With the threat of activism in the air, boards need to cultivate shareholder relations and assess company vulnerabilities. Directors—who are charged with overseeing the long-term goals of their companies—must also understand how activists may look at the company’s strategy and short-term results. They must understand what tactics and tools activists have available to them. They need to know and understand what defenses the company has in place and whether to adopt other protective measures for the benefit of the overall organization and stakeholders.

Cybersecurity

Nearly 90 percent of CEOs worry that cyber threats could adversely impact growth prospects. [4] Yet in a recent survey, nearly 80 percent of the more than 1,000 information technology leaders surveyed had not briefed their board of directors on cybersecurity in the last 12 months. [5] The cybersecurity landscape has become more developed and as such, companies and their directors will likely face stricter scrutiny of their protection against cyber risk. Cyber risk—and the ultimate fall out of a data breach—should be of paramount concern to directors.

One of the biggest concerns facing boards is how to provide effective oversight of cybersecurity. The following are questions that boards should be asking:

Governance. Has the board established a cybersecurity review > committee and determined clear lines of reporting and > responsibility for cyber issues? Does the board have directors with the necessary expertise to understand cybersecurity and related issues?

Critical asset review. Has the company identified what its highest cyber risks assets are (e.g., intellectual property, personal information and trade secrets)? Are sufficient resources allocated to protect these assets?

Threat assessment. What is the daily/weekly/monthly threat report for the company? What are the current gaps and how are they being resolved?

Incident response preparedness. Does the company have an incident response plan and has it been tested in the past six months? Has the company established contracts via outside counsel with forensic investigators in the event of a breach to facilitate quick response and privilege protection?

Employee training. What training is provided to employees to help them identify common risk areas for cyber threat?

Third-party management. What are the company’s practices with respect to third parties? What are the procedures for issuing credentials? Are access rights limited and backdoors to key data entry points restricted? Has the company conducted cyber due diligence for any acquired companies? Do the third-party contracts contain proper data breach notification, audit rights, indemnification and other provisions?

Insurance. Does the company have specific cyber insurance and does it have sufficient limits and coverage?

Risk disclosure. Has the company updated its cyber risk disclosures in SEC filings or other investor disclosures to reflect key incidents and specific risks?

The SEC and other government agencies have made clear that it is their expectation that boards actively manage cyber risk at an enterprise level. Given the complexity of the cybersecurity inquiry, boards should seriously consider conducting an annual third-party risk assessment to review current practices and risks.

Risk Management

Risk management goes hand in hand with strategic planning—it is impossible to make informed decisions about a company’s strategic direction without a comprehensive understanding of the risks involved. An increasingly interconnected world continues to spawn newer and more complex risks that challenge even the best-managed companies. How boards respond to these risks is critical, particularly with the increased scrutiny being placed on boards by regulators, shareholders and the media. In a recent survey, directors and general counsel identified IT/cybersecurity as their number one worry, and they also expressed increasing concern about corporate reputation and crisis preparedness. [6]

Given the wide spectrum of risks that most companies face, it is critical that boards evaluate the manner in which they oversee risk management. Most companies delegate primary oversight responsibility for risk management to the audit committee. Of course, audit committees are already burdened with a host of other responsibilities that have increased substantially over the years. According to Spencer Stuart’s 2015 Board Index, 12 percent of boards now have a stand-alone risk committee, up from 9 percent last year. Even if primary oversight for monitoring risk management is delegated to one or more committees, the entire board needs to remain engaged in the risk management process and be informed of material risks that can affect the company’s strategic plans. Also, if primary oversight responsibility for particular risks is assigned to different committees, collaboration among the committees is essential to ensure a complete and consistent approach to risk management oversight.

Social Media

Companies that ignore the significant influence that social media has on existing and potential customers, employees and investors, do so at their own peril. Ubiquitous connectivity has profound implications for businesses. In addition to understanding and encouraging changes in customer relationships via social media, directors need to understand and weigh the risks created by social media. According to a recent survey, 91 percent of directors and 79 percent of general counsel surveyed acknowledged that they do not have a thorough understanding of the social media risks that their companies face. [7]

As part of its oversight duties, the board of directors must ensure that management is thoughtfully addressing the strategic opportunities and challenges posed by the explosive growth of social media by probing management’s knowledge, plans and budget decisions regarding these developments. Given new technology and new social media forums that continue to arise, this is a topic that must be revisited regularly.

M&A Developments

M&A activity has been robust in 2015 and is on track for another record year. According to Thomson Reuters, global M&A activity exceeded $3.2 trillion with almost 32,000 deals during the first three quarters of 2015, representing a 32 percent increase in deal value and a 2 percent increase in deal volume compared to the same period last year. The record deal value mainly results from the increase in mega-deals over $10 billion, which represented 36 percent of the announced deal value. While there are some signs of a slowdown in certain regions based on deal volume in recent quarters, global M&A is expected to carry on its strong pace in the beginning of 2016.

Directors must prepare for possible M&A activity in the future by keeping abreast of developments in Delaware case law and other trends in M&A. The Delaware courts churned out several noteworthy decisions in 2015 regarding M&A transactions that should be of interest to directors, including decisions on the court’s standard of review of board actions, exculpation provisions, appraisal cases and disclosure-only settlements.

Board Composition and Succession Planning

Boards have to look at their composition and make an honest assessment of whether they collectively have the necessary experience and expertise to oversee the new opportunities and challenges facing their companies. Finding the right mix of people to serve on a company’s board of directors, however, is not necessarily an easy task, and not everyone will agree with what is “right.” According to Spencer Stuart’s 2015 Board Index, board composition and refreshment and director tenure were among the top issues that shareholders raised with boards. Because any perceived weakness in a director’s qualification could open the door for activist shareholders, boards should endeavor to have an optimal mix of experience, skills and diversity. In light of the importance placed on board composition, it is critical that boards have a long-term board succession plan in place. Boards that are proactive with their succession planning are able to find better candidates and respond faster and more effectively when an activist approaches or an unforeseen vacancy occurs.

Audit Committees

Averaging 8.8 meetings a year, audit continues to be the most time-consuming committee. [8] Audit committees are burdened not only with overseeing a company’s risks, but also a host of other responsibilities that have increased substantially over the years. Prioritizing an audit committee’s already heavy workload and keeping directors apprised of relevant developments, including enhanced audit committee disclosures, accounting changes and enhanced SEC scrutiny will be important as companies prepare for 2016.

Executive Compensation

Perennially in the spotlight, executive compensation will continue to be a hot topic for directors in 2016. But this year, due to the SEC’s active rulemaking in 2015, directors will have more to fret about than just say-on-pay. Roughly five years after the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was enacted, the SEC finally adopted the much anticipated CEO pay ratio disclosure rules, which have already begun stirring the debate on income inequality and exorbitant CEO pay. The SEC also made headway on other Dodd-Frank regulations, including proposed rules on pay-for-performance, clawbacks and hedging disclosures. Directors need to start planning how they will comply with these rules as they craft executive compensation for 2016.

Proxy Access

2015 was a turning point for shareholder proposals seeking to implement proxy access, which gives certain shareholders the ability to nominate directors and include those nominees in a company’s proxy materials. During the 2015 proxy season, the number of shareholder proposals relating to proxy access, as well as the overall shareholder support for such proposals, increased significantly. Indeed, approximately 110 companies received proposals requesting the board to amend the company’s bylaws to allow for proxy access, and of those proposals that went to a vote, the average support was close to 54 percent of votes cast in favor, with 52 proposals receiving majority support. [9] New York City Comptroller Scott Springer and his 2015 Boardroom Accountability Project were a driving force, submitting 75 proxy access proposals at companies targeted for perceived excessive executive compensation, climate change issues and lack of board diversity. Shareholder campaigns for proxy access are expected to continue in 2016. Accordingly, it is paramount that boards prepare for and monitor developments in proxy access, including, understanding the provisions that are emerging as typical, as well as the role of institutional investors and proxy advisory firms.

The complete publication is available here.

Endnotes:

[1] Activist Insight, “2015: The First Half in Numbers,” Activism Monthly (July 2015).
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[2] Activist Insight, “Activist Investing—An Annual Review of Trends in Shareholder Activism,” p. 8. (2015).
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[3] David Benoit and Kirsten Grind, “Activist Investors’ Secret Ally: Big Mutual Funds,” The Wall Street Journal (August 9, 2015).
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[4] PwC’s 18th Annual Global CEO Survey 2015.
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[5] Ponemon Institute’s 2015 Global Megatrends in Cybersecurity (February 2015).
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[6] Kimberley S. Crowe, “Law in the Boardroom 2015,” Corporate Board Member Magazine (2nd Quarter 2015). See also, Protiviti, “Executive Perspectives on Top Risks for 2015.”
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[7] Kimberley S. Crowe, supra.
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[8] 2015 Spencer Stuart Board Index, at p. 26.
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[9] Georgeson, 2015 Annual Corporate Governance Review, at p. 5.
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Dix thèmes majeurs pour les administrateurs en 2016 | Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance


Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, les dix thèmes les plus importants pour les administrateurs de sociétés selon Kerry E. Berchem, associé du groupe de pratiques corporatives à la firme Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Cet article est paru aujourd’hui sur le blogue le Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance.

Bien qu’il y ait peu de changements dans l’ensemble des priorités cette année, on peut quand même noter :

(1) l’accent crucial accordé au long terme ;

(2) Une bonne gestion des relations avec les actionnaires dans la foulée du nombre croissant d’activités menées par les activistes ;

(3) Une supervision accrue des activités liées à la cybersécurité…

Pour plus de détails sur chaque thème, je vous propose la lecture synthèse de l’article ci-dessous.

Bonne lecture !

 

Ten Topics for Directors in 2016 |   Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance

 

U.S. public companies face a host of challenges as they enter 2016. Here is our annual list of hot topics for the boardroom in the coming year:

  1. Oversee the development of long-term corporate strategy in an increasingly interdependent and volatile world economy
  2. Cultivate shareholder relations and assess company vulnerabilities as activist investors target more companies with increasing success
  3. Oversee cybersecurity as the landscape becomes more developed and cyber risk tops director concerns
  4. Oversee risk management, including the identification and assessment of new and emerging risks
  5. Assess the impact of social media on the company’s business plans
  6. Stay abreast of Delaware law developments and other trends in M&A
  7. Review and refresh board composition and ensure appropriate succession
  8. Monitor developments that could impact the audit committee’s already heavy workload
  9. Set appropriate executive compensation as CEO pay ratios and income inequality continue to make headlines
  10. Prepare for and monitor developments in proxy access

Strategic Planning Considerations

Strategic planning continues to be a high priority for directors and one to which they want to devote more time. Figuring out where the company wants to—and where it should want to—go and how to get there is not getting any easier, particularly as companies find themselves buffeted by macroeconomic and geopolitical events over which they have no control.

axes

In addition to economic and geopolitical uncertainty, a few other challenges and considerations for boards to keep in mind as they strategize for 2016 and beyond include:

finding ways to drive top-line growth

focusing on long-term goals and enhancing long-term shareholder value in the face of mounting pressures to deliver short-term results

the effect of low oil and gas prices

figuring out whether and when to deploy growing cash stockpiles

assessing the opportunities and risks of climate change and resource scarcity

addressing corporate social responsibility.

Shareholder Activism

Shareholder activism and “suggestivism” continue to gain traction. With the success that activists have experienced throughout 2015, coupled with significant new money being allocated to activist funds, there is no question that activism will remain strong in 2016.

In the first half of 2015, more than 200 U.S. companies were publicly subjected to activist demands, and approximately two-thirds of these demands were successful, at least in part. [1] A much greater number of companies are actually targeted by activism, as activists report that less than a third of their campaigns actually become public knowledge. [2] Demands have continued, and will continue, to vary: from requests for board representation, the removal of officers and directors, launching a hostile bid, advocating specific business strategies and/or opining on the merit of M&A transactions. But one thing is clear: the demands are being heard. According to a recent survey of more than 350 mutual fund managers, half had been contacted by an activist in the past year, and 45 percent of those contacted decided to support the activist. [3]

With the threat of activism in the air, boards need to cultivate shareholder relations and assess company vulnerabilities. Directors—who are charged with overseeing the long-term goals of their companies—must also understand how activists may look at the company’s strategy and short-term results. They must understand what tactics and tools activists have available to them. They need to know and understand what defenses the company has in place and whether to adopt other protective measures for the benefit of the overall organization and stakeholders.

Cybersecurity

Nearly 90 percent of CEOs worry that cyber threats could adversely impact growth prospects. [4] Yet in a recent survey, nearly 80 percent of the more than 1,000 information technology leaders surveyed had not briefed their board of directors on cybersecurity in the last 12 months. [5] The cybersecurity landscape has become more developed and as such, companies and their directors will likely face stricter scrutiny of their protection against cyber risk. Cyber risk—and the ultimate fall out of a data breach—should be of paramount concern to directors.

One of the biggest concerns facing boards is how to provide effective oversight of cybersecurity. The following are questions that boards should be asking:

Governance. Has the board established a cybersecurity review > committee and determined clear lines of reporting and > responsibility for cyber issues? Does the board have directors with the necessary expertise to understand cybersecurity and related issues?

Critical asset review. Has the company identified what its highest cyber risks assets are (e.g., intellectual property, personal information and trade secrets)? Are sufficient resources allocated to protect these assets?

Threat assessment. What is the daily/weekly/monthly threat report for the company? What are the current gaps and how are they being resolved?

Incident response preparedness. Does the company have an incident response plan and has it been tested in the past six months? Has the company established contracts via outside counsel with forensic investigators in the event of a breach to facilitate quick response and privilege protection?

Employee training. What training is provided to employees to help them identify common risk areas for cyber threat?

Third-party management. What are the company’s practices with respect to third parties? What are the procedures for issuing credentials? Are access rights limited and backdoors to key data entry points restricted? Has the company conducted cyber due diligence for any acquired companies? Do the third-party contracts contain proper data breach notification, audit rights, indemnification and other provisions?

Insurance. Does the company have specific cyber insurance and does it have sufficient limits and coverage?

Risk disclosure. Has the company updated its cyber risk disclosures in SEC filings or other investor disclosures to reflect key incidents and specific risks?

The SEC and other government agencies have made clear that it is their expectation that boards actively manage cyber risk at an enterprise level. Given the complexity of the cybersecurity inquiry, boards should seriously consider conducting an annual third-party risk assessment to review current practices and risks.

Risk Management

Risk management goes hand in hand with strategic planning—it is impossible to make informed decisions about a company’s strategic direction without a comprehensive understanding of the risks involved. An increasingly interconnected world continues to spawn newer and more complex risks that challenge even the best-managed companies. How boards respond to these risks is critical, particularly with the increased scrutiny being placed on boards by regulators, shareholders and the media. In a recent survey, directors and general counsel identified IT/cybersecurity as their number one worry, and they also expressed increasing concern about corporate reputation and crisis preparedness. [6]

Given the wide spectrum of risks that most companies face, it is critical that boards evaluate the manner in which they oversee risk management. Most companies delegate primary oversight responsibility for risk management to the audit committee. Of course, audit committees are already burdened with a host of other responsibilities that have increased substantially over the years. According to Spencer Stuart’s 2015 Board Index, 12 percent of boards now have a stand-alone risk committee, up from 9 percent last year. Even if primary oversight for monitoring risk management is delegated to one or more committees, the entire board needs to remain engaged in the risk management process and be informed of material risks that can affect the company’s strategic plans. Also, if primary oversight responsibility for particular risks is assigned to different committees, collaboration among the committees is essential to ensure a complete and consistent approach to risk management oversight.

Social Media

Companies that ignore the significant influence that social media has on existing and potential customers, employees and investors, do so at their own peril. Ubiquitous connectivity has profound implications for businesses. In addition to understanding and encouraging changes in customer relationships via social media, directors need to understand and weigh the risks created by social media. According to a recent survey, 91 percent of directors and 79 percent of general counsel surveyed acknowledged that they do not have a thorough understanding of the social media risks that their companies face. [7]

As part of its oversight duties, the board of directors must ensure that management is thoughtfully addressing the strategic opportunities and challenges posed by the explosive growth of social media by probing management’s knowledge, plans and budget decisions regarding these developments. Given new technology and new social media forums that continue to arise, this is a topic that must be revisited regularly.

M&A Developments

M&A activity has been robust in 2015 and is on track for another record year. According to Thomson Reuters, global M&A activity exceeded $3.2 trillion with almost 32,000 deals during the first three quarters of 2015, representing a 32 percent increase in deal value and a 2 percent increase in deal volume compared to the same period last year. The record deal value mainly results from the increase in mega-deals over $10 billion, which represented 36 percent of the announced deal value. While there are some signs of a slowdown in certain regions based on deal volume in recent quarters, global M&A is expected to carry on its strong pace in the beginning of 2016.

Directors must prepare for possible M&A activity in the future by keeping abreast of developments in Delaware case law and other trends in M&A. The Delaware courts churned out several noteworthy decisions in 2015 regarding M&A transactions that should be of interest to directors, including decisions on the court’s standard of review of board actions, exculpation provisions, appraisal cases and disclosure-only settlements.

Board Composition and Succession Planning

Boards have to look at their composition and make an honest assessment of whether they collectively have the necessary experience and expertise to oversee the new opportunities and challenges facing their companies. Finding the right mix of people to serve on a company’s board of directors, however, is not necessarily an easy task, and not everyone will agree with what is “right.” According to Spencer Stuart’s 2015 Board Index, board composition and refreshment and director tenure were among the top issues that shareholders raised with boards. Because any perceived weakness in a director’s qualification could open the door for activist shareholders, boards should endeavor to have an optimal mix of experience, skills and diversity. In light of the importance placed on board composition, it is critical that boards have a long-term board succession plan in place. Boards that are proactive with their succession planning are able to find better candidates and respond faster and more effectively when an activist approaches or an unforeseen vacancy occurs.

Audit Committees

Averaging 8.8 meetings a year, audit continues to be the most time-consuming committee. [8] Audit committees are burdened not only with overseeing a company’s risks, but also a host of other responsibilities that have increased substantially over the years. Prioritizing an audit committee’s already heavy workload and keeping directors apprised of relevant developments, including enhanced audit committee disclosures, accounting changes and enhanced SEC scrutiny will be important as companies prepare for 2016.

Executive Compensation

Perennially in the spotlight, executive compensation will continue to be a hot topic for directors in 2016. But this year, due to the SEC’s active rulemaking in 2015, directors will have more to fret about than just say-on-pay. Roughly five years after the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was enacted, the SEC finally adopted the much anticipated CEO pay ratio disclosure rules, which have already begun stirring the debate on income inequality and exorbitant CEO pay. The SEC also made headway on other Dodd-Frank regulations, including proposed rules on pay-for-performance, clawbacks and hedging disclosures. Directors need to start planning how they will comply with these rules as they craft executive compensation for 2016.

Proxy Access

2015 was a turning point for shareholder proposals seeking to implement proxy access, which gives certain shareholders the ability to nominate directors and include those nominees in a company’s proxy materials. During the 2015 proxy season, the number of shareholder proposals relating to proxy access, as well as the overall shareholder support for such proposals, increased significantly. Indeed, approximately 110 companies received proposals requesting the board to amend the company’s bylaws to allow for proxy access, and of those proposals that went to a vote, the average support was close to 54 percent of votes cast in favor, with 52 proposals receiving majority support. [9] New York City Comptroller Scott Springer and his 2015 Boardroom Accountability Project were a driving force, submitting 75 proxy access proposals at companies targeted for perceived excessive executive compensation, climate change issues and lack of board diversity. Shareholder campaigns for proxy access are expected to continue in 2016. Accordingly, it is paramount that boards prepare for and monitor developments in proxy access, including, understanding the provisions that are emerging as typical, as well as the role of institutional investors and proxy advisory firms.

The complete publication is available here.

Endnotes:

[1] Activist Insight, “2015: The First Half in Numbers,” Activism Monthly (July 2015).
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[2] Activist Insight, “Activist Investing—An Annual Review of Trends in Shareholder Activism,” p. 8. (2015).
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[3] David Benoit and Kirsten Grind, “Activist Investors’ Secret Ally: Big Mutual Funds,” The Wall Street Journal (August 9, 2015).
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[4] PwC’s 18th Annual Global CEO Survey 2015.
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[5] Ponemon Institute’s 2015 Global Megatrends in Cybersecurity (February 2015).
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[6] Kimberley S. Crowe, “Law in the Boardroom 2015,” Corporate Board Member Magazine (2nd Quarter 2015). See also, Protiviti, “Executive Perspectives on Top Risks for 2015.”
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[7] Kimberley S. Crowe, supra.
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[8] 2015 Spencer Stuart Board Index, at p. 26.
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[9] Georgeson, 2015 Annual Corporate Governance Review, at p. 5.
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L’utilisation des médias sociaux par les entreprises


Il existe peu de recherche sur les stratégies utilisées par les entreprises publiques (dans ce cas-ci l’indice S&P 1500) eu égard à l’adoption des réseaux sociaux pour divulguer de l’information aux investisseurs.

L’étude dont il est ici question a été réalisée par une équipe de chercheurs et elle a été publiée dans le Harvard Law School Forum par Matteo Tonello*, directeur du Conference Board. Elle montre que plus de la moitié des entreprises utilisent Twitter pour relayer différents types d’informations (principalement de nature financière) auprès d’investisseurs actuels ou potentiels.

Tout le monde reconnaît l’impact phénoménal des médias sociaux pour communiquer nos messages, instantanément, à l’échelle planétaire ; l’étude démontre que les entreprises ont également pris le virage et qu’elles utilisent abondamment les médias sociaux dans toutes les sphères des activités relatives aux affaires.

Mais, comment les entreprises utilisent-elles les réseaux sociaux pour communiquer plus efficacement leurs résultats financiers auprès de leurs investisseurs ? Comment ces entreprises profitent-elles des médias sociaux pour améliorer leur image de marque ? Quelles sont les conséquences non anticipées de la diffusion d’information financière par l’intermédiaire de Twitter ?

Avec les médias traditionnels, les organisations sont très dépendantes des services de presse, si bien que les informations financières ne sont généralement pas bien ciblées et que les entreprises ne savent pas si les investisseurs actuels ou futurs ont bien reçu l’information.

Les auteurs recommandent l’utilisation de courts messages dans un média tel que Twitter, avec un lien vers un communiqué de presse ou vers le site de l’entreprise. La recherche montre également que la divulgation de l’information financière aux investisseurs en utilisant ce moyen peut engendrer une perte de contrôle du message !

Aussi, l’étude montre que les organisations sont moins susceptibles de divulguer leurs résultats financiers via Twitter lorsque les profits ne satisfont pas les attentes des analystes. Les entreprises utilisent essentiellement Twitter pour divulguer les bonnes nouvelles. Cela ne surprendra personne, mais ce comportement illustre le manque de transparence de plusieurs entreprises.

Également, l’étude montre que les grands investisseurs réagissent plus rapidement aux tweets liés aux résultats financiers.

Enfin, les résultats indiquent que les retweets d’informations négatives ont une portée virale et qu’ils génèrent une couverture négative dans les médias traditionnels.

Si vous souhaitez approfondir vos connaissances sur la diffusion d’informations par les entreprises publiques via les médias sociaux, je vous invite à lire ce court extrait de l’étude.

Bonne lecture !

 

Corporate Use of Social Media

 

While companies devote considerable effort to creating and managing social media presences, little is known about how they use social media to communicate financial information to investors. This report examines the use of social media by S&P 1500 companies to disseminate financial information and the response from investors and traditional media. The findings show that companies use social media to overcome a perceived lack of traditional media attention and that social media usage improves the company’s information environment. There is also evidence that, in contrast with other types of company communications, the beneficial effects of social media on the company’s information environment are offset when the investor-focused social media communications are disseminated by other social media users. The findings are relevant for managers and boards establishing corporate social media disclosure policies, since they suggest that companies may benefit from developing different approaches to disseminating positive versus negative earnings news.

Social media has transformed communications in many sectors of the US economy. It is now used for disaster preparation and emergency response, security at major events, and public agencies are researching new uses in geolocation, law enforcement, court decisions, and military intelligence. Internationally, social media is credited for organizing political protests across the Middle East and a revolution in Egypt. In the business world, social media has revolutionized sales and marketing practices and developed into a powerful recruiting and networking channel.

puzzle-medias-sociaux

Conventionally, if a company wanted to publicize investor-related information such as an earnings announcement, it would do so by sending a press release to intermediaries such as newswire services, equity research databases, and brokerage firms. A company would not know if or when any of its existing or prospective investors received the information. In contrast, with social media platforms such as Twitter, a company can send one or more short messages directly to a known number of followers with a link to a press release on its corporate website. As such, a company can use Twitter to target its news dissemination, increase the speed and flexibility of the news dissemination, and reduce information acquisition costs for its investors and the traditional media outlets that follow it.

Little research exists, however, on how firms use social media to communicate financial information to investors and how investors respond to information disseminated through social media, despite firms devoting considerable effort to creating and managing social media presences directed at investors. While social media is generally viewed as an opportunity to improve investor communications and increase visibility, the authors hypothesize that disseminating investor communications via social media could also result in the company not retaining full control over its financial communications. This concern stems from the viral nature of social media—even though social media allows a company to connect more easily with its investors, it also allows investors to connect more easily with the company, with each other, and with individuals who do not directly follow the company and are likely less informed about the company’s prior financial communications. As a result, a company’s investor communications via social media can potentially spread to uniformed individuals in a way that creates adverse consequences for the company.

The Adoption Rate of Social Media to Disseminate Information to Investors

To collect data on social media usage, the authors identify whether each company in the S&P 1500 Index had a social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Google+ as of January 2013 by visiting each corporate website and looking for icons or links to the company’s social media sites. Twitter and Facebook are the two most frequently adopted social media platforms for corporations. The data show that adoption of Twitter and Facebook exceeds 47 percent and 44 percent, respectively, and is highest for customer-facing industries such as meals, retail, books and services (each over 65 percent) and lowest for industrial sectors such as oil (roughly 20 percent) and steel (roughly 14 percent). Corporate adoption is much lower for the other social media platforms, suggesting that they are less conducive for delivering typical corporate communications.

The authors also collect data on when companies joined Twitter or Facebook by searching for the earliest tweets or posts. The time trend in corporate social media adoption for Facebook and Twitter is illustrated in Figure 1. The earliest adopters of Facebook joined in November 2007 and the first set of firms to create Twitter accounts did so in May 2008. By early 2013, the corporate adoption rate of Twitter surpassed the rate for Facebook. By the end of the data collection period, 51 percent of the S&P 1500 companies had adopted one or the other, with Twitter appearing to edge out Facebook slightly as the preferred social media platform for companies.

tcb-1

Since social media adoption does not necessarily imply that social media is used to disseminate information to investors, which is the focus of the study, the next step is to analyze what types of investor-focused information are disseminated over social media. Since the data suggest that Twitter is the preferred social media platform, it is the focus of this analysis. Quarterly earnings-related tweets are the most prevalent type of investor-focused tweets, far outnumbering tweets related to executive turnover, dividends, board of directors, and even new products and customers. The frequency of each type of investor-related tweet is summarized in Table 1.

tcb-3

The number of firm-quarters with earnings announcements on Facebook (5.7 percent) is approximately half the number on Twitter (11.8 percent), suggesting that the preference for Twitter is even stronger when it comes to earnings news. An overview of the corporate use of Twitter and Facebook is illustrated in Figure 2.

tcb-2

Which Companies Use Social Media and What Is The Capital Market Response?

The consequences of social media usage are identified by combining the detailed information on Twitter usage with other data on stock market outcomes and financial statement data. Using Twitter, rather than other social media data, is advantageous because 1) earnings announcements have been shown in prior work to be of first-order importance to investors, 2) the information content of earnings announcements can be controlled for more effectively than the information content of other financial disclosures, and 3) the precise time that earnings announcements were disseminated through Twitter can be identified. The analyses address four related research questions, which are described in the following subsections:

What Types of Companies Disseminate Earnings through Social Media?

An investigation of the factors associated with the choice to disseminate earnings news through Twitter finds that companies that tweet earnings have less traditional media coverage and tend to issue more press releases than those that do not use Twitter. These findings suggest that companies use social media along with other firm-initiated communications in response to a perceived lack of traditional media coverage. The analysis also shows that larger companies are more likely to use Twitter to disseminate earnings news, which is contrary to the notion that smaller companies benefit more from using social media.

Are Companies Strategic in their use of Social Media?

The authors investigate whether companies strategically disseminate earnings news using Twitter by examining whether there is differential usage of Twitter based on the direction of the earnings news (i.e., positive versus negative earnings news). They find that companies are less likely to disseminate earnings news through Twitter when the earnings miss the consensus forecast and the magnitude of the miss is larger. When the sample is split between companies that consistently use Twitter versus those that do not, these results are driven by this latter group. In other words, it appears that there is a subset of companies that are sporadic in their Twitter usage, and that these companies use Twitter strategically to disseminate positive earnings news.

How does the Capital Market Respond to the Corporate Use of Social Media?

The capital market response to social media dissemination is investigated by looking at intra-day and three-day changes in capital market measures related to price, volume, and spreads. There is a reduction in bid-ask spreads when the company tweets earnings news and when more followers receive the earnings announcement tweet. [1]

Modest price- and volume-based responses are found to earnings announcements disseminated over Twitter during three-day earnings announcement windows. However, when short-window intraday tests focused on companies that tweet earnings news during market hours are used, both trading volume and trade size respond to earnings tweets. There is a significant increase in the mean and median abnormal volume, primarily due to an increase in large trades. Therefore, while social media is commonly viewed as a dissemination channel that provides timely access to information for all investors, the results suggest that larger investors react more quickly to earnings-related tweets.

Does Social Media Influence Traditional Media Coverage?

The authors investigate whether there are adverse consequences to the company from non-firm initiated social media disseminations by examining whether retweets negatively affect the company’s information environment and its coverage by traditional media. In contrast with the evidence for tweets, there is an increase in information asymmetry when the company’s earnings announcement tweets are retweeted to individuals who do not follow the company (i.e., the follower’s followers). Media coverage is also adversely affected by retweet activity. While more retweets are associated with more coverage in traditional media, this association is entirely attributable to negative media coverage. This finding suggests that retweets of earnings information increase negative media coverage, but have no effect on positive media coverage.

Conclusion

The findings shows that the usage of social media by corporations has grown dramatically over a relatively short period of time, from less than 5 percent of S&P 1500 companies in 2008 to more than 50 percent in 2013. This trend suggests that social media usage for communicating with investors has the potential to become an integral part of many companies’ disclosure policies. The findings show that even in the absence of the Securities and Commission’s approval of social media as a channel for investor communication, companies used it to disseminate a variety of information, including earnings news, board and executive changes, new contracts, and dividends.

Overall, the findings demonstrate that social media usage improves the company’s information environment, consistent with the notion that it improves investor communications. However, the benefits are offset when the company’s disclosures are disseminated by other social media users, consistent with the notion that there are potential adverse consequences to the company’s information environment that derive from the viral nature of social media. This finding suggests that an appropriate social media policy for investor communications likely differs from social media usage for other business purposes, such as marketing campaigns, in which companies often want to generate viral reactions to social media dissemination. The results also suggest that companies that adopt social media disclosure policies benefit from developing different approaches to disseminating positive versus negative earnings news. These conclusions are relevant for companies, managers, and boards of directors that are establishing social media disclosure policies.

Endnotes:

[1] The bid-ask spread is the difference between the price that someone is willing to pay for a security at a specific point in time (the bid) and the price at which someone is willing to sell (the ask).

_____________________________

*Matteo Tonello* is managing director at The Conference Board, Inc. This post relates to an issue of The Conference Board’s Director Notes series by Michael Jung, James Naughton, Ahmed Tahoun, and Clare Wang.

Siéger à un CA de sociétés cotées | du rêve à la réalité


Les postes aux conseils d’administration des sociétés publiques sont très convoités et limités. Bien que s’avérant un atout indéniable, la formation en gouvernance ne constitue pas un passeport direct à la destination de ces CA.

L’article de Joanne Desjardins*, qui agit à titre d’auteure invitée sur mon blogue, met les pendules à l’heure sur les possibilités d’accéder à de tels postes en précisant les compétences généralement recherchées.

Je vous en souhaite bonne lecture. Vos commentaires sont appréciés.

CA des sociétés publiques : du rêve à la réalité

par

Joanne Desjardins*

 

tranferer-siege-social-122707
Transfert de sièges au CA !

Vous venez de suivre votre formation au Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS) et, diplôme en main, gonflé à bloc par vos ambitions, vous souhaitez accéder au CA de Bombardier…

Avez-vous déjà postulé pour devenir le président ou le vice-président de Bombardier ?  Non ?  Pourquoi ? Parce que vous n’avez pas l’expérience ni l’expertise requise… Vous avez été directrice des approvisionnements pour la Ville de Montréal ou directeur des ressources humaines à l’Industrielle Alliance et vous souhaitez, du jour au lendemain, être membre du CA de Métro, de la Banque Nationale ou des pharmacies Jean Coutu… Avez-vous déjà géré 3,7 milliards de dollars d’actifs et 2 300 employés ?  Non ?  Sachez qu’il s’agit du quotidien de Sophie Brochu, présidente de Gaz Métro, et de son équipe. Vous souhaitez escalader le mont Everest alors que le plus haut sommet que vous avez gravi est le mont Sainte-Anne ?

Vous souhaitez évoluer dans la Ligue nationale de hockey alors que vous êtes un joueur de calibre Bantam AA ? Vous avez inscrit vos coordonnées dans la banque des candidats-administrateurs de l’Institut des administrateurs de sociétés (IAS) ou du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS) et vous attendez patiemment l’appel du président du CA de Couche-Tard ? Détrompez-vous. Loin de moi l’idée de broyer vos ambitions à la moulinette, mais, s’il vous plaît, soyez réalistes !

Bien qu’un diplôme en gouvernance s’avère un atout, il n’ouvre pas automatiquement la porte aux CA des grandes entreprises publiques. Ces postes sont très convoités et les possibilités sont limitées. Ils sont évidemment lucratifs — le salaire moyen en 2015 était de 153 000 $ (réf. : Canadian Board Index, Spencer Stuart, 2015). Les CA des compagnies publiques comptent en moyenne 11 membres (réf. : Canadian Board Index, Spencer Stuart, 2015).  Une proportion significative de CA n’impose pas d’âge limite et de terme à leurs membres ce qui freine le renouvellement (réf. : Canadian Board Index, Spencer Stuart, 2015). Il faut aussi considérer que les membres siègent en moyenne entre 11 et 15 ans, et ce, parfois, sur plus d’un CA.

Tenant compte de ces ouvertures de trous de souris, examinons de plus près les compétences et l’expertise recherchées par les entreprises publiques dans le recrutement des membres de leur CA. Elles recherchent principalement des candidats ayant une expertise comme dirigeant (¨CEO¨) d’une entreprise.  Selon Spencer Stuart (Canadian Board Index, 2015), 55 % des membres nommés au CA entre 2010 et 2015 avaient une expérience comme président (¨CEO¨) d’une entreprise et 23 % des membres occupaient une fonction de vice-président (niveau ¨C-Level¨). Si vous n’avez pas ce profil, vos chances s’amenuisent. Si vous êtes unilingue francophone, vos chances d’être recruté rétrécissent comme des chaussettes de laine à la sécheuse.

Néanmoins, la marmite de la composition des CA est sous pression pour évoluer. Une récente étude de PwC (Réf : Governing for the long-term: Board Composition and Diversity, PwC, 2015) indique que les compétences les plus recherchées sont :

  1. L’expertise financière ;
  2. La connaissance de l’industrie dans laquelle l’entreprise évolue ;
  3. L’expertise opérationnelle ;
  4. L’expertise en gestion des risques.

D’ailleurs, nous observons un accroissement des comités en gestion des risques sur les CA (réf. : Canadian Board Index, Spencer Stuart, 2015). En raison de la croissance et de la sophistication des cyberattaques, les CA recherchent de plus en plus une expertise en cybersécurité (Réf : Governing for the long-term: Board Composition and Diversity, PwC, 2015).

Toujours selon l’étude de PwC citée précédemment, les expertises en gestion des ressources humaines et légales sont moins recherchées. De plus, l’étude démontre que les CA des grandes entreprises sont de plus en plus conscients de l’importance de la diversité (sexe, âge, ethnie) et veulent se débarrasser de l’étiquette du : ¨Old Boys Club¨.

Comme les postes aux CA des entreprises publiques ne sont pas affichés, le réseau est crucial pour les dénicher. Si vous n’avez pas dans votre réseau, des gens siégeant sur ces CA, votre macaroni est possiblement cuit. Bien que plusieurs entreprises aient recours à des firmes de recrutement, la ¨stratégie¨ informelle de recrutement du : ¨qui connaît qui ? ¨ est encore courante. Il est donc pertinent de se faire connaître auprès des firmes de recrutement de calibre mondial (par ex. : Korn Ferry, Spencer Stuart, etc.) et des membres des CA chargés du recrutement. Cependant, encore faut-il correspondre au profil recherché et que votre proposition de valeur soit attrayante. Transmettre une avalanche de CV aux présidents de CA et aux firmes de recrutement n’est pas nécessairement une bonne idée. Il faut se faire connaître autrement (par ex. : votre leadership dans un projet, une conférence dans votre spécialité, un article mettant en valeur votre expertise, etc.).

Vous siégez à un CA d’une organisation à but non lucratif ? Est-ce que cette expérience peut servir de tremplin à un poste au sein du CA d’une société publique ? Cette expérience peut vous aider à mieux comprendre le fonctionnement d’un CA et à tester vos compétences. Elle peut aussi vous servir de référence pour étayer votre expertise comme administrateur. Vous pouvez aussi y rencontrer des gens d’influence qui pourront vous aider dans votre cheminement. Malgré cela, ne vous leurrez sur son potentiel de développement de votre carrière d’administrateur — il ne s’agit pas d’un bassin de recrutement de talents privilégié par les firmes de recrutement et les sociétés publiques.

Être recruté pour siéger à un CA d’une grande entreprise constitue un exploit et exige des efforts, même pour la personne la plus qualifiée.  Définissez vos cibles et votre proposition de valeur — qu’avez-vous d’intéressant et de différent à offrir ? Certains administrateurs affirment que les démarches effectuées peuvent prendre de 12 à 24 mois avant de donner des résultats concrets, positifs comme négatifs. Force est de constater qu’il y a beaucoup d’appelés, mais peu d’élus. Toutefois, une fois le candidat recruté, il est sous les projecteurs et donc susceptible de recevoir des offres subséquentes.

En terminant, la formation en gouvernance est indubitablement un outil pour vous transformer en administrateurs aguerris. Toutefois, elle ne constitue pas un passeport direct pour l’obtention d’un poste au sein d’une entreprise publique. Comme les postes disponibles sont limités, l’accession nécessite une expérience préalable, un réseau solide ainsi que le déploiement d’efforts pour accroître votre notoriété et établir votre crédibilité comme administrateur.


*Joanne Desjardins est administratrice de sociétés et consultante en gouvernance. Elle possède plus de 17 années d’expérience comme avocate et comme consultante en gouvernance, en stratégie et en gestion des ressources humaines. Elle est constamment à l’affût des derniers développements en gouvernance et publie des articles sur le sujet.

Dix thèmes majeurs pour les administrateurs en 2016 | Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance


Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, les dix thèmes les plus importants pour les administrateurs de sociétés selon Kerry E. Berchem, associé du groupe de pratiques corporatives à la firme Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Cet article est paru aujourd’hui sur le blogue le Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance.

Bien qu’il y ait peu de changements dans l’ensemble des priorités cette année, on peut quand même noter :

(1) l’accent crucial accordé au long terme ;

(2) Une bonne gestion des relations avec les actionnaires dans la foulée du nombre croissant d’activités menées par les activistes ;

(3) Une supervision accrue des activités liées à la cybersécurité…

Pour plus de détails sur chaque thème, je vous propose la lecture synthèse de l’article ci-dessous.

Bonne lecture !

 

Ten Topics for Directors in 2016 |   Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance

 

U.S. public companies face a host of challenges as they enter 2016. Here is our annual list of hot topics for the boardroom in the coming year:

  1. Oversee the development of long-term corporate strategy in an increasingly interdependent and volatile world economy
  2. Cultivate shareholder relations and assess company vulnerabilities as activist investors target more companies with increasing success
  3. Oversee cybersecurity as the landscape becomes more developed and cyber risk tops director concerns
  4. Oversee risk management, including the identification and assessment of new and emerging risks
  5. Assess the impact of social media on the company’s business plans
  6. Stay abreast of Delaware law developments and other trends in M&A
  7. Review and refresh board composition and ensure appropriate succession
  8. Monitor developments that could impact the audit committee’s already heavy workload
  9. Set appropriate executive compensation as CEO pay ratios and income inequality continue to make headlines
  10. Prepare for and monitor developments in proxy access

Strategic Planning Considerations

Strategic planning continues to be a high priority for directors and one to which they want to devote more time. Figuring out where the company wants to—and where it should want to—go and how to get there is not getting any easier, particularly as companies find themselves buffeted by macroeconomic and geopolitical events over which they have no control.

axes

In addition to economic and geopolitical uncertainty, a few other challenges and considerations for boards to keep in mind as they strategize for 2016 and beyond include:

finding ways to drive top-line growth

focusing on long-term goals and enhancing long-term shareholder value in the face of mounting pressures to deliver short-term results

the effect of low oil and gas prices

figuring out whether and when to deploy growing cash stockpiles

assessing the opportunities and risks of climate change and resource scarcity

addressing corporate social responsibility.

Shareholder Activism

Shareholder activism and “suggestivism” continue to gain traction. With the success that activists have experienced throughout 2015, coupled with significant new money being allocated to activist funds, there is no question that activism will remain strong in 2016.

In the first half of 2015, more than 200 U.S. companies were publicly subjected to activist demands, and approximately two-thirds of these demands were successful, at least in part. [1] A much greater number of companies are actually targeted by activism, as activists report that less than a third of their campaigns actually become public knowledge. [2] Demands have continued, and will continue, to vary: from requests for board representation, the removal of officers and directors, launching a hostile bid, advocating specific business strategies and/or opining on the merit of M&A transactions. But one thing is clear: the demands are being heard. According to a recent survey of more than 350 mutual fund managers, half had been contacted by an activist in the past year, and 45 percent of those contacted decided to support the activist. [3]

With the threat of activism in the air, boards need to cultivate shareholder relations and assess company vulnerabilities. Directors—who are charged with overseeing the long-term goals of their companies—must also understand how activists may look at the company’s strategy and short-term results. They must understand what tactics and tools activists have available to them. They need to know and understand what defenses the company has in place and whether to adopt other protective measures for the benefit of the overall organization and stakeholders.

Cybersecurity

Nearly 90 percent of CEOs worry that cyber threats could adversely impact growth prospects. [4] Yet in a recent survey, nearly 80 percent of the more than 1,000 information technology leaders surveyed had not briefed their board of directors on cybersecurity in the last 12 months. [5] The cybersecurity landscape has become more developed and as such, companies and their directors will likely face stricter scrutiny of their protection against cyber risk. Cyber risk—and the ultimate fall out of a data breach—should be of paramount concern to directors.

One of the biggest concerns facing boards is how to provide effective oversight of cybersecurity. The following are questions that boards should be asking:

Governance. Has the board established a cybersecurity review > committee and determined clear lines of reporting and > responsibility for cyber issues? Does the board have directors with the necessary expertise to understand cybersecurity and related issues?

Critical asset review. Has the company identified what its highest cyber risks assets are (e.g., intellectual property, personal information and trade secrets)? Are sufficient resources allocated to protect these assets?

Threat assessment. What is the daily/weekly/monthly threat report for the company? What are the current gaps and how are they being resolved?

Incident response preparedness. Does the company have an incident response plan and has it been tested in the past six months? Has the company established contracts via outside counsel with forensic investigators in the event of a breach to facilitate quick response and privilege protection?

Employee training. What training is provided to employees to help them identify common risk areas for cyber threat?

Third-party management. What are the company’s practices with respect to third parties? What are the procedures for issuing credentials? Are access rights limited and backdoors to key data entry points restricted? Has the company conducted cyber due diligence for any acquired companies? Do the third-party contracts contain proper data breach notification, audit rights, indemnification and other provisions?

Insurance. Does the company have specific cyber insurance and does it have sufficient limits and coverage?

Risk disclosure. Has the company updated its cyber risk disclosures in SEC filings or other investor disclosures to reflect key incidents and specific risks?

The SEC and other government agencies have made clear that it is their expectation that boards actively manage cyber risk at an enterprise level. Given the complexity of the cybersecurity inquiry, boards should seriously consider conducting an annual third-party risk assessment to review current practices and risks.

Risk Management

Risk management goes hand in hand with strategic planning—it is impossible to make informed decisions about a company’s strategic direction without a comprehensive understanding of the risks involved. An increasingly interconnected world continues to spawn newer and more complex risks that challenge even the best-managed companies. How boards respond to these risks is critical, particularly with the increased scrutiny being placed on boards by regulators, shareholders and the media. In a recent survey, directors and general counsel identified IT/cybersecurity as their number one worry, and they also expressed increasing concern about corporate reputation and crisis preparedness. [6]

Given the wide spectrum of risks that most companies face, it is critical that boards evaluate the manner in which they oversee risk management. Most companies delegate primary oversight responsibility for risk management to the audit committee. Of course, audit committees are already burdened with a host of other responsibilities that have increased substantially over the years. According to Spencer Stuart’s 2015 Board Index, 12 percent of boards now have a stand-alone risk committee, up from 9 percent last year. Even if primary oversight for monitoring risk management is delegated to one or more committees, the entire board needs to remain engaged in the risk management process and be informed of material risks that can affect the company’s strategic plans. Also, if primary oversight responsibility for particular risks is assigned to different committees, collaboration among the committees is essential to ensure a complete and consistent approach to risk management oversight.

Social Media

Companies that ignore the significant influence that social media has on existing and potential customers, employees and investors, do so at their own peril. Ubiquitous connectivity has profound implications for businesses. In addition to understanding and encouraging changes in customer relationships via social media, directors need to understand and weigh the risks created by social media. According to a recent survey, 91 percent of directors and 79 percent of general counsel surveyed acknowledged that they do not have a thorough understanding of the social media risks that their companies face. [7]

As part of its oversight duties, the board of directors must ensure that management is thoughtfully addressing the strategic opportunities and challenges posed by the explosive growth of social media by probing management’s knowledge, plans and budget decisions regarding these developments. Given new technology and new social media forums that continue to arise, this is a topic that must be revisited regularly.

M&A Developments

M&A activity has been robust in 2015 and is on track for another record year. According to Thomson Reuters, global M&A activity exceeded $3.2 trillion with almost 32,000 deals during the first three quarters of 2015, representing a 32 percent increase in deal value and a 2 percent increase in deal volume compared to the same period last year. The record deal value mainly results from the increase in mega-deals over $10 billion, which represented 36 percent of the announced deal value. While there are some signs of a slowdown in certain regions based on deal volume in recent quarters, global M&A is expected to carry on its strong pace in the beginning of 2016.

Directors must prepare for possible M&A activity in the future by keeping abreast of developments in Delaware case law and other trends in M&A. The Delaware courts churned out several noteworthy decisions in 2015 regarding M&A transactions that should be of interest to directors, including decisions on the court’s standard of review of board actions, exculpation provisions, appraisal cases and disclosure-only settlements.

Board Composition and Succession Planning

Boards have to look at their composition and make an honest assessment of whether they collectively have the necessary experience and expertise to oversee the new opportunities and challenges facing their companies. Finding the right mix of people to serve on a company’s board of directors, however, is not necessarily an easy task, and not everyone will agree with what is “right.” According to Spencer Stuart’s 2015 Board Index, board composition and refreshment and director tenure were among the top issues that shareholders raised with boards. Because any perceived weakness in a director’s qualification could open the door for activist shareholders, boards should endeavor to have an optimal mix of experience, skills and diversity. In light of the importance placed on board composition, it is critical that boards have a long-term board succession plan in place. Boards that are proactive with their succession planning are able to find better candidates and respond faster and more effectively when an activist approaches or an unforeseen vacancy occurs.

Audit Committees

Averaging 8.8 meetings a year, audit continues to be the most time-consuming committee. [8] Audit committees are burdened not only with overseeing a company’s risks, but also a host of other responsibilities that have increased substantially over the years. Prioritizing an audit committee’s already heavy workload and keeping directors apprised of relevant developments, including enhanced audit committee disclosures, accounting changes and enhanced SEC scrutiny will be important as companies prepare for 2016.

Executive Compensation

Perennially in the spotlight, executive compensation will continue to be a hot topic for directors in 2016. But this year, due to the SEC’s active rulemaking in 2015, directors will have more to fret about than just say-on-pay. Roughly five years after the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was enacted, the SEC finally adopted the much anticipated CEO pay ratio disclosure rules, which have already begun stirring the debate on income inequality and exorbitant CEO pay. The SEC also made headway on other Dodd-Frank regulations, including proposed rules on pay-for-performance, clawbacks and hedging disclosures. Directors need to start planning how they will comply with these rules as they craft executive compensation for 2016.

Proxy Access

2015 was a turning point for shareholder proposals seeking to implement proxy access, which gives certain shareholders the ability to nominate directors and include those nominees in a company’s proxy materials. During the 2015 proxy season, the number of shareholder proposals relating to proxy access, as well as the overall shareholder support for such proposals, increased significantly. Indeed, approximately 110 companies received proposals requesting the board to amend the company’s bylaws to allow for proxy access, and of those proposals that went to a vote, the average support was close to 54 percent of votes cast in favor, with 52 proposals receiving majority support. [9] New York City Comptroller Scott Springer and his 2015 Boardroom Accountability Project were a driving force, submitting 75 proxy access proposals at companies targeted for perceived excessive executive compensation, climate change issues and lack of board diversity. Shareholder campaigns for proxy access are expected to continue in 2016. Accordingly, it is paramount that boards prepare for and monitor developments in proxy access, including, understanding the provisions that are emerging as typical, as well as the role of institutional investors and proxy advisory firms.

The complete publication is available here.

Endnotes:

[1] Activist Insight, “2015: The First Half in Numbers,” Activism Monthly (July 2015).
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[2] Activist Insight, “Activist Investing—An Annual Review of Trends in Shareholder Activism,” p. 8. (2015).
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[3] David Benoit and Kirsten Grind, “Activist Investors’ Secret Ally: Big Mutual Funds,” The Wall Street Journal (August 9, 2015).
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[4] PwC’s 18th Annual Global CEO Survey 2015.
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[5] Ponemon Institute’s 2015 Global Megatrends in Cybersecurity (February 2015).
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[6] Kimberley S. Crowe, “Law in the Boardroom 2015,” Corporate Board Member Magazine (2nd Quarter 2015). See also, Protiviti, “Executive Perspectives on Top Risks for 2015.”
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[7] Kimberley S. Crowe, supra.
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[8] 2015 Spencer Stuart Board Index, at p. 26.
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[9] Georgeson, 2015 Annual Corporate Governance Review, at p. 5.
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Nouvelles du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS) | Novembre 2015


Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, les dernières nouvelles du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS) au 26 novembre 2015.

Le programme de certification universitaire en gouvernance de sociétés est le seul programme universitaire offert au Québec. Il s’adresse aux administrateurs siégeant à un conseil d’administration et disposant d’une expérience pertinente.

Les administrateurs de sociétés certifiés (ASC) sont regroupés dans la Banque des Administrateurs de sociétés certifiés (ASC), un outil de recherche en ligne mis au point par le Collège, afin de faciliter le recrutement d’administrateurs sur les conseils d’administration.

Collège des administrateurs de sociétés

Nouvelles du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS) | Novembre 2015

DE NOUVEAUX ADMINISTRATEURS CHEVRONNÉS COMPLÈTENT LE PROGRAMME DE CERTIFICATION

Le 37e groupe de finissants du Collège participait la semaine dernière à trois jours de simulation pour compléter leur cheminement dans le programme de certification en gouvernance de sociétés. Appelés à siéger à des conseils d’administration et des comités statutaires, les finissants pouvaient valider leurs connaissances acquises et recevoir une rétroaction de leurs pairs à l’égard de leurs interventions au cours des mises en situation.

Afin d’obtenir la désignation d’administrateur de sociétés certifié (ASC), ces participants ont été invités à l’examen de certification du 20 février 2016; la dernière étape du parcours. « Cette formation offerte par le Collège permet aux participants d’apprivoiser tous les aspects de la gouvernance des sociétés (ressources humaines, finances et audit, gestion des risques, planification stratégique et communications). L’excellence des formateurs et la très grande qualité des contenus sont à la base d’une formation de haut niveau qui prépare les participants à jouer pleinement et efficacement un rôle d’administrateur dans une société privée, publique ou à but non lucratif. » Robert Sauvé, président-directeur général, Société du Plan Nord.

Finissants du module 5 de novembre 2015

80 JEUNES ADMINISTRATEURS FORMÉS CET AUTOMNE

 

Convaincu de l’importance de former la relève en gouvernance, le Collège a collaboré cet automne à deux programmes de formation auprès de jeunes administrateurs : «Administrateurs de la relève» et «Réseau jeunes administrateurs». Les 7 et 14 novembre derniers se tenaient l’examen et la simulation d’un conseil d’administration du programme «Administrateurs de la relève» offert par le Regroupement des jeunes chambres de commerce du Québec (RJCCQ). Cinquante-six participants des cohortes de Montréal, de Québec et en ligne, terminèrent avec succès cette formation de 15 heures et devinrent ainsi mieux préparés à exercer leur rôle d’administrateur.

Programme Administrateurs de la relève - automne 2015

 

La 12e cohorte du programme «Réseau jeunes administrateurs» offert par la Jeune Chambre de commerce de Montréal (JCCM), en collaboration avec Concertation Montréal, complétera le programme et passera l’examen le 9 décembre prochain. Ces jeunes leaders seront ainsi mieux outillés à contribuer efficacement à la bonne gouvernance.

 

Programme Réseau jeunes administrateurs

DISTINCTIONS D’ASC

 

Sylvie St-Onge, ASC, récipiendaire du titre honorifique Fellow CRHA.

Michel Rouleau, ASC, honoré par le CLD de la Nouvelle-Beauce à titre de Bâtisseur 2015.

Claire Deronzier, ASC, finaliste de la catégorie «Cadre, dirigeante ou professionnelle – Organisme public ou parapublic» des Prix femmes d’affaires du Québec 2015.

 

FORMATRICE AU CAS

 

Conseil d'expert, par Kathleen Zicat

Voici le principal conseil aux administrateurs de Mme Kathleen Zicat : «Découvrez et gardez en tête vos motivations initiales à accepter un mandat sur un conseil d’administration».

Lire l’ensemble de son conseil [+]

 

À L’AGENDA

Formations du Collège

Certification – Module 1 : Rôles et responsabilités des administrateurs | février 2016, à Québec | mars 2016, à Montréal

Gouvernance des OBNL | décembre 2015, à Québec – COMPLET | mars 2016, à Montréal | mai 2016, à Québec

Gouvernance des PME | février 2016, à Québec | mai 2016, à Montréal

Séminaire Gouvernance express à l’intention des ASC (détails à venir) | 5 avril 2016, à Montréal

Gouvernance et leadership à la présidence | avril 2016, à Montréal

Calendrier complet

Activités de nos partenaires

Petit-déjeuner-conférence du Cercle des ASC sur le «Procès-verbal : un outil essentiel au CA pour une saine gouvernance» | 3 décembre 2015, à Québec

Petit-déjeuner-conférence du Cercle des ASC sur la «Gestion de crise : comment y voir clair?» | 8 décembre 2015, à Montréal

Petit-déjeuner-conférence de l’IAS section du Québec sur la «Planification stratégique et gestion de risque dans un monde ambigu» | 15 décembre 2015, à Montréal

Activité «Un CA à l’heure du thé» pour les administratrices, présentée par la Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Québec | 2 février 2016, à Québec

Toutes ces formations sont admissibles à la politique de formation continue des ASC.

NOMINATIONS D’ASC

 

Présidence de conseil

Serge Brasset, ASC
Fondation du Cégep Édouard-Montpetit
Développement Aéroport Saint-Hubert de Longueuil (DASH-L)

Administrateurs de sociétés

Josée Morin, ASC
Christie Innomed inc.

Serge Bouchard, ASC
Groupe Action Affaires

Michel Lamontagne, ASC
Les Métaux Canadiens inc.

Francine Martel-Vaillancourt, ASC
Desjardins sécurité financière

Daniel Jean, ASC
Signes d’espoir

Annie Tremblay, ASC
Société du Palais des congrès de Montréal

Gilles Bernier, ASC
Prysm, Assurances générales

Renée Piette, ASC
Comité d’examen indépendant de la Financière des professionnels

Sylvie Lemieux, ASC
Le Théâtre du Gros Mécano

Renald Dutil, ASC
Fondation Enfants de Bolivie
Fondation de l’Accueil Bonneau

Manon Veilleux, ASC
CAUCA

Didier Leconte, ASC
BIOTalent

NOUVELLES EN BREF

 

Publication d’une étude de la Chaire de recherche en gouvernance de sociétés
La Chaire de recherche en gouvernance de sociétés de l’Université Laval publie une étude sur la représentation des femmes au sein des conseils d’administration au Québec. Consultez l’étude [+]

Un franc succès pour le premier petit-déjeuner-conférence de l’IAS à Québec
Le premier petit-déjeuner-conférence présenté à Québec par l’Institut des administrateurs de sociétés (IAS), section du Québec, en collaboration avec le Collège, a connu un franc succès en accueillant plus de 170 participants, le 17 novembre dernier à l’hôtel Le Château Bonne Entente. Lire la suite [+]

Bourse ADMA-CAS applicable au cours Gouvernance des PME
Partenaire de l’Ordre des administrateurs agréés du Québec depuis dix ans, le Collège est heureux d’offrir à nouveau la Bourse ADMA-CAS applicable au cours Gouvernance des PME. Lire la suite [+]

VOUS RECHERCHEZ UN ADMINISTRATEUR ?

BANQUE DES ADMINISTRATEURS DE SOCIÉTÉS CERTIFIÉS

 Banque des ASC

 

 Top 5 des billets les plus consultés au mois d’octobre sur le blogue Gouvernance | Jacques Grisé

 

Pourquoi nommer un administrateur indépendant comme président du conseil |

En rappel

Indicateurs de mesure d’un « bon » conseil d’administration |

Quelques éléments à considérer

Le rôle du comité exécutif versus le rôle du conseil d’administration

 

La valeur stratégique du développement durable |

Une enquête de McKinsey

L’utilisation des huis clos lors des sessions de CA

Le Collège vous invite à rejoindre le groupe LinkedIn Administrateurs de sociétés – Gouvernance, voué aux discussions et échanges sur le thème de la gouvernance et rassemblant une communauté de plus de 1385 administrateurs et gestionnaires.

Bonne lecture !

____________________________________________

Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS)

Faculté des sciences de l’administration, Carré des affaires FSA ULaval – Banque Nationale

1030 avenue du Séminaire, Université Laval, Québec (Québec) G1V 0A6

418 656-2630; 418 842-2630

info@cas.ulaval.ca

 

Nouvelles du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS) | Octobre 2015


Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, les dernières nouvelles du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS) au 22 octobre 2015.

Le programme de certification universitaire en gouvernance de sociétés est le seul programme universitaire offert au Québec. Il s’adresse aux administrateurs siégeant à un conseil d’administration et disposant d’une expérience pertinente.

Les administrateurs de sociétés certifiés (ASC) sont regroupés dans la Banque des Administrateurs de sociétés certifiés (ASC), un outil de recherche en ligne mis au point par le Collège, afin de faciliter le recrutement d’administrateurs sur les conseils d’administration.

Collège des administrateurs de sociétés

Nouvelles du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS) | Octobre 2015

14 NOUVEAUX FORMATEURS ENRICHISSENT L’ÉQUIPE DU CAS

 

Chaque année, le Collège accueille de nouveaux formateurs dans son équipe dont l’expertise permet d’enrichir l’offre variée de formations en gouvernance. Dans un souci constant d’actualiser le contenu de ses cours, le Collège a recruté, pour la prochaine année, 14 nouveaux formateurs dont huit sont Administrateurs de sociétés certifiés (ASC).

Ainsi, 130 formateurs de renom collaborent désormais avec le Collège. Lire la suite [+]

Bienvenue à ces formateurs

PETIT-DÉJEUNER SUR LA GOUVERNANCE À QUÉBEC

 

L’Institut des administrateurs de sociétés section du Québec et le Collège des administrateurs de sociétés s’associent afin de présenter le petit-déjeuner séminaire sur la « Répartition des rôles entre le CA et les comités », le mardi 17 novembre prochain, de 7h30 à 9h, à l’hôtel Le Bonne Entente à Québec. Deux Administratrices de sociétés certifiées (ASC) participeront au panel. Cette collaboration vise à offrir un événement de qualité en gouvernance aux administrateurs de la région de Québec. Inscrivez-vous en ligne [+]

Ce séminaire présentera le point de vue et les expériences de quatre panélistes quant au partage des rôles entre les comités et le conseil d’administration. Ces experts discuteront de conseils pratiques pour s’assurer que chacun des comités et le conseil lui-même jouent leurs rôles afin d’optimiser l’efficience. Les panélistes seront M. Pierre Genest (SSQ, Société d’assurance-vie inc.), Mme Lise Lapierre, ASC (Accès Capital Québec), Mme Marie-France Poulin, ASC (Groupe Camada inc.) et M. Andrew J. Sheldon (Médicago inc). Mme Maude Lemieux (Desjardins Entreprises Capital régional et coopératif) et Mme Anne-Marie Naud (McCarthy Tétrault) tiendront le rôle de modératrices.

Petit-déjeuner séminaire de l'IAS Québec

 

DES ASC SE DISTINGUENT DANS LEUR MILIEU

 

Jacques Lefebvre, ASC, récipiendaire du titre de Compagnon de l’Ordre des CPA du Québec.

Yves Filion, ASC, honoré Grand ambassadeur et Pierre Bonin, ASC, nommé Ambassadeur 2015 de l’Université de Sherbrooke.

Josée Morin, ASC, sélectionnée pour la cohorte Diversité 50 de 2015.

FORMATRICE AU CAS

 

Conseil d'expert, par Lyne Bouchard

Le principal conseil aux administrateurs de Mme Bouchard, experte en TI : «Faites-vous confiance pour gouverner, même en TI !».

Lire l’ensemble de son conseil [+]

Lyne Bouchard a récemment été nommée administratrice au Fonds de solidarité FTQ.

DIPLÔMÉ DU COLLÈGE

 

Martin Cyrenne, ASC

M. Cyrenne sent qu’il peut faire une différence rapidement au sein des conseils d’administration grâce aux connaissances acquises au programme de certification universitaire en gouvernance de sociétés.

Depuis septembre dernier, Martin Cyrenne préside le conseil d’administration du Cercle des administrateurs de sociétés certifiés (ASC), organisme regroupant et représentant les diplômés ASC et les participants au programme de certification du Collège.

Lisez-en plus sur son expérience [+]

 

À L’AGENDA

Formations du Collège

Gouvernance des OBNL | décembre 2015, à Québec – COMPLET | mars 2016, à Montréal | mai 2016, à Québec

Gouvernance et leadership à la présidence | novembre 2015, à Québec | avril 2016, à Montréal

Gouvernance des PME | novembre 2015, à Montréal | février 2016, à Québec

Certification – Module 1 : Rôles et responsabilités des administrateurs | novembre 2015, à Montréal – COMPLET | février 2016, à Québec | mars 2016, à Montréal

Calendrier complet

Activités de nos partenaires

Petit-déjeuner conférence du Cercle des ASC sur la «Gestion de crise : comment y voir clair?» | 27 octobre 2015, à Québec

Petit-déjeuner conférence de l’IAS section du Québec sur «Trois PDG vous parlent : leurs attentes du conseil » | 27 octobre 2015, à Montréal

Petit-déjeuner conférence du Cercle des ASC sur le «Procès-verbal : un outil essentiel au CA pour une saine gouvernance» | 10 novembre 2015, à Montréal | 3 décembre 2015, à Québec

Petit-déjeuner conférence du Cercle des ASC sur les «Comités consultatifs : enjeux et bénéfices» | 25 novembre 2015, à Montréal

Petit-déjeuner conférence de l’IAS section du Québec sur la «Répartition des rôles entre le CA et les comités» | 17 novembre 2015, à Québec

Conférence sur la fraude, par les Événements Les Affaires (10% de rabais pour notre réseau) | 17 novembre 2015, à Montréal

Toutes ces formations sont admissibles à la politique de formation continue des ASC.

 

VOUS RECHERCHEZ UN ADMINISTRATEUR?

 

Banque des ASC

BOÎTE À OUTILS DES ADMINISTRATEURS 

 

Nouvelle référence mensuelle en gouvernance : Principes de gouvernance d’entreprise du G20 et de l’OCDE

 

Principes de gouvernance d'entreprise du G20 et de l'OCDE

« La bonne gouvernance n’est pas une fin en soi, elle est un moyen d’assurer la confiance des marchés et l’intégrité des entreprises, essentielles pour que ces dernières puissent financer leurs investissements à long terme en mobilisant des capitaux propres. L’accès au financement sur fonds propres est particulièrement important pour les entreprises en croissance tournées vers l’avenir et pour compenser tout accroissement éventuel de l’endettement. La version revisée des Principes de gouvernance d’entreprise du G20/de l’OCDE (les Principes), représente donc une contribution, arrivant à point nommé, à la concrétisation de la décision du G20 de donner, en 2015, la priorité à l’investissement considéré comme un puissant moteur de la croissance. »

Consultez la publication [+]

 

Top 5 des billets les plus consultés au mois de septembre sur le blogue Gouvernance | Jacques Grisé

 

1. Vous siégez à un conseil d’administration | Comment se comporter correctement ? [+]
2. Un document complet sur les principes d’éthique et de saine gouvernance dans les organismes à buts charitables [+]
3. Un guide utile pour bien évaluer les risques | En reprise [+]
4. Éloge à la confiance du PCD envers son CA [+]
5. Gestion des risques informatiques en rappel | Les administrateurs doivent poser les bonnes questions ! [+]

 

Le Collège vous invite à rejoindre le groupe LinkedIn Administrateurs de sociétés – Gouvernance voué aux discussions et échanges sur le thème de la gouvernance et rassemblant une communauté de plus de 1368 administrateurs et gestionnaires.

Bonne lecture !

____________________________________________

Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS)

Faculté des sciences de l’administration, Pavillon Palasis-Prince

2325, rue de la Terrasse, Université Laval, Québec (Québec) G1V 0A6

418 656-2630; 418 656-2624

info@cas.ulaval.ca

 

Le réseautage | une activité essentielle à tout administrateur potentiel


À chaque semaine je donne la parole à Johanne Bouchard* qui agit à titre d’auteure invitée sur mon blogue en gouvernance. Ce billet est une reprise de son article publié le 22 juin 2015.

L’auteure a une solide expérience d’interventions de consultation auprès de conseils d’administration de sociétés américaines et d’accompagnements auprès de hauts dirigeants de sociétés publiques.

L’auteure a une solide expérience d’interventions de consultation auprès de conseils d’administration de sociétés américaines et d’accompagnements auprès de hauts dirigeants de sociétés publiques.

Dans ce billet, elle aborde le sujet de l’importance du réseautage, un préalable à l’obtention de postes d’administrateurs.

Quels conseils une personne qui connaît bien les rouages du processus de composition des CA d’entreprises privées, publiques, petites ou grandes, peut-elle prodiguer, simplement et concrètement, au sujet du thème du réseautage ?

Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.

Réseautez | Parce que vous ignorez qui vous ignorez!

Bien que le vieil adage « ce n’est pas ce que vous savez qui compte, mais qui vous connaissez », semble vrai, j’ajouterais aussi que vous devriez connaître ce qu’il est important de savoir et savoir qui vous devriez connaître –– qui peut dire de qui vous aurez besoin un jour ?

Le réseautage en affaires est un incontournable. Le réseautage est aussi très important pour accéder à votre premier conseil d’administration ou à plusieurs conseils d’administration. Vous pouvez toujours développer votre entreprise en utilisant le bouche à oreille, cependant, vous n’obtiendrez pas facilement une place au conseil d’administration si les gens ne vous connaissent pas ou n’ont aucune idée de qui vous êtes.

Réseautez: Parce que vous ignorez qui vous ignorez!

Encore plus que les conseils d’administration, le réseautage est important pour plusieurs raisons :

  1. Élargir votre champ d’action pour ouvrir les bonnes portes à de nouveaux contacts ;
  2. Vous faire connaître, soutenir et promouvoir votre entreprise ;
  3. Faciliter votre introduction dans le milieu ;
  4. Être présents à l’esprit de ceux qui pourraient avoir recours à vos services et devenir leur priorité ;
  5. Créer des partenariats stratégiques ;
  6. Créer des liens d’affaires qui augmenteront votre visibilité, vos échanges et peut-être vos compétences-clés ;
  7. Vous tenir informés auprès des gens qui sont aussi des experts dans votre domaine.

Les affaires s’accroissent grâce au soutien et à la collaboration des autres. Le réseautage vous permet d’identifier les bons outils et les ressources appropriées qui vous permettront d’atteindre vos objectifs au cours des différentes étapes de croissance d’une entreprise.

Un réseau se développe un pas à la fois (sans sauter les étapes). Vous ne savez jamais quand quelqu’un pourra bénéficier de votre soutien et quand vous apprécierez le leur.

Quand vous participez à un événement de réseautage, souvenez-vous de :

  1. Prendre le pouls de la salle : Participer à un événement de réseautage peut être intimidant, parfois même accablant. Si vous êtes seul, prenez le temps de circuler dans la pièce et essayez de repérer les gens qui semblent être seuls. Il est plus facile d’aborder une personne seule que d’essayer de vous insérer au milieu d’une conversation de groupe ;
  2. L’image que vous présenterez est celle que les gens retiendront : Vous ne reverrez peut-être plus jamais ces personnes, ou vous n’aurez peut-être jamais besoin de communiquer avec elles. Mais, si cela devait arriver, vous aimeriez qu’on se souvienne de vous comme vous le souhaitez ;
  3. Apportez vos cartes professionnelles, distribuez vos coordonnées à chaque personne que vous rencontrez : Certains vous diront que vous n’avez pas besoin de ces cartes professionnelles et qu’il existe des moyens plus rapides de partager ses coordonnées. Offrez toujours vos coordonnées ou vos cartes professionnelles avant de quitter l’événement, et ce même si vous n’avez échangé que quelques mots avec cette personne ;
  4. Serrez la main des gens quand vous les rencontrez, informez vous d’eux et échangez : Contrôlez ce que vous voulez qu’ils retiennent à votre sujet et respectez leurs valeurs ;
  5. Regardez les gens dans les yeux quand vous leur parlez : Ne penchez pas la tête et ne regardez pas ailleurs. Soyez sincère et soyez attentifs à ce qu’ils disent ;
  6. Ne le prenez pas mal si on ne s’intéresse pas à ce que vous avez à dire ;
  7. Demandez toujours leurs coordonnées ou leurs cartes professionnelles avant qu’ils ne partent.

Après la rencontre de réseau, faites le suivi !

  1. À votre retour au bureau, ou à la maison, assurez vous que tous les détails concernant les coordonnées des gens rencontrés sont inscrites dans vote base de données le plus tôt possible ; vous créerez ainsi progressivement votre réseau pour le futur ;
  2. Envoyez un courriel, à chaque personne que vous avez rencontrée, lui exprimant le plaisir que vous avez eu de la connaître ;
  3. Allez ensuite sur LinkedIn, puis essayez de retrouver les personnes que vous avez rencontrées et invitez-les à vous joindre. Si elles sont influentes, considérez les suivre ;
  4. Allez sur Twitter, trouvez-les et suivez-les.

Comprenez-vous tout le pouvoir du réseautage ?

Si vous savez comment utiliser le réseau, vous augmenterez vos chances d’obtenir un siège à un conseil d’administration.


*Johanne Bouchard est maintenant consultante auprès de conseils d’administration, de chefs de la direction et de comités de direction. Johanne a développé une expertise au niveau de la dynamique et la de composition d’un conseil d’administration. Après l’obtention de son diplôme d’ingénieure en informatique, sa carrière l’a menée à œuvrer dans tous les domaines du secteur de la technologie, du marketing et de la stratégie à l’échelle mondiale.

Pour en connaître plus sur le site de Johanne Bouchard

Gestion des risques informatiques en rappel | Les administrateurs doivent poser les bonnes questions !


Voici le résumé d’un article paru dans le Wall Street Journal le 21 juillet 2015, basé sur un billet de NACD In The News*.

Les administrateurs doivent être au fait de la situation de l’entreprise eu égard à la sécurité informatique. Cependant, la plupart des administrateurs ne savent pas trop comment s’y prendre pour s’assurer qu’ils s’acquittent de leurs responsabilités.

L’article propose six questions que les administrateurs devraient poser à l’équipe de la sécurité informatique de l’entreprise afin de mieux saisir la problématique de la sécurité cyber informatique.

Ces questions ne couvrent certainement pas tous les angles mais elles ont l’avantage de contribuer à une meilleure connaissance, partagée par tous les administrateurs.

Les questions suggérées sont vraiment percutantes :

What was our most significant cybersecurity incident in the past quarter? What was our response?

What was our most significant near miss? How was it discovered?

How is the performance of the security team evaluated?

Do you have relationships with law enforcement, such as the FBI and Interpol?

Do you work with business leaders on due diligence of acquisition targets? With supply chain leaders on security protocols of vendors and other partners?

What process is in place to ensure you can escalate serious issues and provide prompt, full disclosure of cybersecurity deficiencies?

               * Source: National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD)

Bonne lecture !

Cybersecurity: Boards Must Ask Sharper, Smarter Questions

Boards are trying to build more productive, transparent relationships with cybersecurity chiefs to decrease the risk of attack. But directors can by stymied by a lack of basic security knowledge.

New guidance from the National Association of Corporate Directors suggests asking more searching questions of chief information security officers, including how they measure their teams and technology and whether they have ongoing contacts with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement bodies that investigate attacks.

Former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer chairs Morgan Stanley’s technology committee. Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

The most common question directors ask of CISOs is whether their company is vulnerable to breaches similar to those at Target Corp.Anthem Inc. and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, said Phil Ferraro, a former CISO at Las Vegas Sands Corp. who now consults with boards. But that approach is simplistic, he said. “Directors don’t understand that no security is ever perfect.”

More productive are conversations about how to decrease the risk of attack and the process for managing one when it occurs, Mr. Ferraro said. For example, the NACD suggests boards continuously ask about the most significant cybersecurity incident in the prior quarter and how the security team handled it, so that the discussion may lead to better practices.

Key Questions Directors Must Ask Cybersecurity Chiefs

  1. What was our most significant cybersecurity incident in the past quarter? What was our response?
  2. What was our most significant near miss? How was it discovered?
  3. How is the performance of the security team evaluated?
  4. Do you have relationships with law enforcement, such as the FBI and Interpol?
  5. Do you work with business leaders on due diligence of acquisition targets? With supply chain leaders on security protocols of vendors and other partners?
  6. What process is in place to ensure you can escalate serious issues and provide prompt, full disclosure of cybersecurity deficiencies?

Still, there is no single set of questions directors can ask to uncover all cybersecurity weak spots, said Tom Glocer, a director at Morgan Stanley and Merck & Co. Inc., and the former CEO of Thomson Reuters Corp.

“My experience is that the horribly dangerous cyber threats are the ones you don’t even know about,” said Mr. Glocer, who chairs Morgan Stanley’s board-level technology committee.

But directors should engage CISOs in continuous discussion to let management know that the board “cares and is watching,” he said. Security is a regular agenda item at Morgan Stanley board meetings, discussed boardwide and in the risk and technology committees. Morgan Stanley is one of just 15 of the Fortune 100 with a formal technology committee at the board level.

At boards less versed in technology and cybersecurity, CISOs must often first educate directors about the range of potential security problems because many members “simply don’t know,” Mr. Ferraro said.

Just 11% of board members across industries say they have a “high level” of knowledge about the topic, according to a recent NACD survey of 1,034 directors.

An important check is for CISOs to talk with board members about developing a process to ensure they can escalate serious issues and provide prompt, full disclosure of cybersecurity deficiencies, the NACD advised. “That’s something boards have got to pay attention to, because they’re on the line as much as management when something bad happens,”  Mr. Ferraro said.

Bulletin de la rentrée du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS) | Septembre 2015


Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, le Bulletin de la rentrée du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS) du mois de septembre 2015.

Le programme de certification universitaire en gouvernance de sociétés est le seul programme universitaire offert au Québec. Il s’adresse aux administrateurs siégeant à un conseil d’administration et disposant d’une expérience pertinente.

Les administrateurs de sociétés certifiés (ASC) sont regroupés dans la Banque des Administrateurs de sociétés certifiés (ASC), un outil de recherche en ligne mis au point par le Collège, afin de faciliter le recrutement d’administrateurs sur les conseils d’administration.

Collège des administrateurs de sociétés

Bulletin de la rentrée du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS) | Septembre 2015

CONSULTEZ LE RAPPORT D’ACTIVITÉ 2014-2015 DU COLLÈGE

10 ans d'excellence en gouvernance

Au cours de l’année 2014-2015, le Collège a eu le plaisir de partager avec vous les festivités entourant son 10e anniversaire et nous en faisons un bilan des plus positifs. Consultez ce rapport d’activité afin de revoir nos principales réalisations et nouveautés, puis revivre nos événements signatures.

La ligne du temps des 10 ans du Collège vous remémore nos moments forts et témoigne de l’évolution fulgurante de nos activités.

Nous sommes heureux de vous compter dans notre réseau grandissant d’administrateurs et dirigeants ayant à cœur la saine gouvernance de nos organisations.

Consultez le rapport d’activité [+]

Rapport d'activité 2014-2015
Bonne lecture !

REPRISE DES ACTIVITÉS AUTOMNALES DU COLLÈGE

L’arrivée du mois de septembre est synonyme de la reprise des activités du Collège.

Nous amorçons le calendrier le 9 septembre prochain au Parquet du Centre CDP Capital à Montréal avec la soirée annuelle de remise des diplômes qui vient couronner les efforts des 74 nouveaux Administrateurs de sociétés certifiés (ASC) de la promotion 2015. L’enthousiasme autour de l’événement était tel qu’il affiche complet.

Formations en gouvernance du Collège des administrateurs de sociétésTout comme ces nouveaux ASC, vous souhaitez établir les plus hauts standards de qualité en gouvernance dans vos conseils d’administration?

Inscrivez-vous dès maintenant au programme de certification en gouvernance de sociétés. Pour le premier module portant sur les rôles et responsabilités de l’administrateur, il est déjà le temps de vous inscrire pour les 4, 5 et 6 février 2016 à Québec ou les 17, 18 et 19 mars 2016, à Montréal.

Le Collège offre également des formations de haut niveau pour répondre aux besoins et enjeux en gouvernance des OBNL, des PME et pour la fonction de présidence d’un conseil ou d’un de ses comités :

Gouvernance des OBNL, les 23 et 24 octobre prochains à Montréal et les 4 et 5 décembre prochains à Québec;

Gouvernance et leadership à la présidence, les 12 et 13 novembre prochains à Québec;

Gouvernance des PME, les 18 et 19 novembre prochains à Montréal.

Le Collège travaille déjà à l’organisation des événements de 2016. Les détails vous seront communiqués dans les prochains mois pour la Grande conférence en gouvernance de sociétés et le Séminaire Gouvernance Express adressé aux ASC.

Au plaisir de vous croiser dans l’une de ces activités!

FORMATION SPÉCIALISÉE POUR LA GOUVERNANCE DES PME

Vos objectifs de croissance de votre PME sont-ils définis? La pérennité de votre organisation vous préoccupe-t-elle? Le transfert de votre entreprise est-il un enjeu?

Vous êtes chef d’entreprise, haut dirigeant, investisseur ou administrateur de PME.
Notre formation Gouvernance des PME vous offrira des outils concrets pour relever vos défis.

Le Collège offrira cette formation spécialisée les 18 et 19 novembre 2015 à Montréal. Ce cours sera aussi offert à Québec à l’hiver.

Profitez de ce moment privilégié pour revoir vos grandes orientations et identifier des moyens concrets pour optimiser la gouvernance de votre PME. Réfléchissez aux pratiques de gouvernance les mieux adaptées et les plus efficaces pour votre entreprise. C’est un rendez-vous à ne pas manquer avec notre équipe de dix formateurs de haut calibre!

Pour plus d’informations, consultez la page Web du cours PME ou le programme détaillé. N’hésitez pas à nous contacter afin de discuter de vos enjeux de gouvernance et voir si ce cours peut y répondre.

___________________________________________________

Publication en gouvernance sur le blogue Gouvernance | Jacques Grisé et sur les réseaux sociaux: Top 5 des billets les plus consultés au mois de juin du blogue Gouvernance | Jacques Grisé.

Le Collège vous invite à rejoindre le groupe LinkedIn Administrateurs de sociétés – Gouvernance voué aux discussions et échanges sur le thème de la gouvernance et rassemblant une communauté de plus de 1339 administrateurs et gestionnaires.

 

COLLÈGE DES ADMINISTRATEURS DE SOCIÉTÉS

Faculté des sciences de l’administration
Pavillon Palasis-Prince
2325, rue de la Terrasse, Université Laval
Québec (Québec) G1V 0A6
418 656-2630
418 656-2624
info@cas.ulaval.ca

 

Synergie entre le chef de la direction et le président du CA : seize (16) conseils essentiels


L’auteure a une solide expérience d’interventions de consultation auprès de conseils d’administration de sociétés américaines et d’accompagnements auprès de hauts dirigeants de sociétés publiques.

Dans ce billet, elle revient sur l’importance de créer une synergie entre le président du CA et le premier dirigeant. Dans un billet précédent, elle décrit les quatre piliers essentiels à de bonnes relations entre les deux parties : la confiance, le respect, la communication et la collaboration.

Dans ce deuxième article portant sur le même thème, l’auteure présente plusieurs conseils qui devraient guider les relations entre le président du conseil d’administration (PCA) et le président et chef de la direction (PCD)

Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.

La synergie entre le président du CA et le chef de la direction : seize (16) conseils essentiels

par

Johanne Bouchard

La synergie entre le président du CA et le chef de la direction : seize (16) conseils essentiels

 

Tel que je l’ai déjà mentionné lors du billet intitulé « La synergie entre le président du conseil d’administration et le chef de la direction – Les quatre piliers de fondations solides », lorsque la relation entre le président du conseil d’administration et le chef de la direction est solide, elle contribue à créer un climat et une dynamique au sein du conseil d’administration qui favorise une plus grande réussite.

Voici mes seize (16) conseils pour guider ces deux dirigeants importants de l’entreprise en soutenant leur synergie :

 

Pour le président du conseil (PCA) :

 

  1. Soutenez, agissez comme mentor et conseillez votre chef de la direction. Maintenez une politique de porte ouverte, une fois que tous les deux aurez convenu des tenants et aboutissants de la communication entre vous ;
  2. Appréciez ouvertement le travail et les efforts de l’équipe de direction ;
  3. Posez les bonnes questions à votre chef de la direction afin de comprendre la logique derrière les décisions stratégiques qu’il a prises, la performance générale de l’entreprise et l’efficacité de l’équipe de direction ;
  4. Participez aux conférences téléphoniques ou aux diffusions vidéo par Internet (vidéo Web) où l’on dévoile les résultats trimestriels prévisibles de l’entreprise. Examinez les états financiers et les résultats trimestriels prévisibles avec le chef de la direction et le directeur financier. Agréez si cela est justifié, mais abstenez-vous de faire des commentaires inutiles. Apportez vos commentaires constructifs, si ceux-ci peuvent ajouter de la valeur aux échanges. En cas de doute, recherchez les conseils d’un tiers ou d’un autre membre du conseil d’administration qui pourrait conseiller adéquatement le chef de la direction ;
  5. Tenez-vous au courant de toute stratégie adoptée par le chef de la direction, puis discutez ouvertement avec ce dernier, et même questionnez ces stratégies sans toutefois interférer avec ses décisions ;
  6. Abordez ouvertement la planification d’une éventuelle relève au poste de chef de la direction, en vous souvenant que ceci peut être un sujet épineux ;
  7. Joignez-vous au conseil d’administration d’une autre entreprise qui est dirigée par un président du conseil d’administration et un chef de la direction que vous respectez. Continuez d’évoluer et d’apprendre en tant qu’administrateur indépendant, qui peut observer une autre relation dynamique entre un président du conseil d’administration et un chef de la direction ;
  8. Toutefois, ne vous joignez pas à tellement d’autres conseils d’administration que vous ne puissiez pas allouer le temps requis pour alimenter la synergie de votre relation avec votre propre chef de la direction.

 

Pour le chef de la direction (PCD) :

 

  1. Tirez parti de votre président chaque fois que possible, à titre de mentor et de conseiller ;
  2. Assurez l’accès à l’équipe de direction de sorte que le président puisse s’associer à ses efforts et contribuer à faciliter la planification de la relève ;
  3. Accueillez les demandes de renseignements de votre président, en supposant qu’elles sont faites correctement. Ne vous sentez pas scruté, mais à juste titre, plutôt pris en charge ;
  4. Invitez le président, au nom du conseil d’administration, à écouter les conférences dévoilant les résultats trimestriels prévisibles de l’entreprise. Passez en revue les états financiers et les résultats trimestriels prévisibles avec le président et le directeur financier ;
  5. Suscitez les observations des administrateurs du conseil d’administration, du vice-président des ressources humaines, le conseiller juridique et le directeur financier concernant votre relation avec le président. Ne comptez pas sur votre propre vision de cette relation ;
  6. Lorsque vous vous sentez frustrés ou que vous détectez une friction potentielle avec le président, n’arrivez pas à une conclusion hâtive et ne blâmez personne. Tendez la main au président et partagez candidement votre opinion sur ce qui vous inquiète ;
  7. Anticipez déjà le moment où il faudra passer la direction à la relève. Ne créez pas un éléphant qui n’a plus sa place aux réunions du conseil d’administration ;
  8. Joignez-vous au conseil d’administration d’une autre entreprise qui est dirigée par un président du conseil d’administration et un chef de la direction que vous respectez. Continuez d’évoluer et d’apprendre en tant qu’administrateur indépendant, qui peut observer une autre relation dynamique entre un président du conseil d’administration et un chef de la direction.

 

À la fois pour le président du conseil et le chef de la direction :

 

Vous devez définir clairement et accepter la meilleure façon de communiquer avec l’autre. Soyez diplomate dans la façon dont vous vous exprimez. Soyez sensibles et à l’écoute de la communication de l’autre.

Voici trois (3) moyens de communiquer ensemble et un exemple des sujets traités :

(a)   Courriels (Intranet) : les affaires courantes, le statut d’un délai et une confirmation de réunion ;

(b)   Appels téléphoniques ou réunions en ligne à distance : nouvelles questions stratégiques, préoccupations d’intérêt potentiel pour le conseil d’administration ;

(c)   Réunions en personne : les points urgents qui soulèvent des drapeaux rouges, les questions du ressort du conseil d’administration, les violations dans le respect des piliers relationnels entre les cadres.

Convenez de toutes les questions qui sont du ressort possible du conseil d’administration afin que vous soyez à la même page avant de vous rassembler dans la salle de réunion. N’attendez pas à la réunion du conseil d’administration pour définir un processus fonctionnel pour les questions que vous pouvez commencer à résoudre ensemble afin de maximiser le déroulement de la réunion.

Si le président du conseil d’administration et le chef de la direction font preuve d’ouverture, s’adaptent facilement et sont désireux de cultiver une relation saine, la synergie et le succès suivront. Si vous croyez réellement que vous pouvez apprendre l’un de l’autre, il en sera ainsi.

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*Johanne Bouchard est consultante auprès de conseils d’administration, de chefs de la direction et de comités de direction. Johanne a développé une expertise au niveau de la dynamique et la de composition d’un conseil d’administration. Après l’obtention de son diplôme d’ingénieure en informatique, sa carrière l’a menée à œuvrer dans tous les domaines du secteur de la technologie, du marketing et de la stratégie à l’échelle mondiale.

Pour en connaître plus sur le site de Johanne Bouchard

Synergie entre le chef de la direction et le président du CA : les quatre piliers


Sous l’entête « What I write about », blogs in French, l’on retrouve tous ses articles en français.

L’auteure a une solide expérience d’interventions de consultation auprès de conseils d’administration de sociétés américaines et d’accompagnements auprès de hauts dirigeants de sociétés publiques.

Dans ce billet, elle aborde l’importance de créer une synergie  entre le président du CA et le premier dirigeant. Elle décrit les quatre piliers essentiels à de bonnes relations entre les deux parties : la confiance, le respect, la communication et la collaboration.

Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.

Synergie entre le chef de la direction et le président du CA : les quatre piliers

par

Johanne Bouchard

Tant le président d’un conseil d’administration que le chef de la direction d’une entreprise ont de grandes responsabilités en matière de leadership. Comme je l’ai déjà mentionné dans un autre billet, il est important pour tous les membres du CA d’avoir une vision claire de leurs rôles respectifs, tout particulièrement le chef de la direction et le président du CA. Ces deux dirigeants doivent travailler ensemble, et non l’un contre l’autre !

Au fil des années, j’ai été appelée à jouer le rôle de confidente et de consultante auprès de conseils d’administration ainsi que de soutien auprès des chefs de la direction. Une grande partie de mon temps a été consacrée à l’écoute de ces chefs de la direction, puis à les conseiller sur la dynamique susceptible de se développer entre eux et leurs conseils d’administration, notamment avec leurs présidents de CA. Alors que de nombreux présidents et chefs de la direction ont de bonnes relations, beaucoup luttent pour créer un réel partenariat.

La dynamique et les divers aspects de cette relation ne sont pas différents des autres aspects des relations humaines. Deux personnes sont impliquées, et les deux ont besoin de s’engager à consacrer le temps requis pour travailler à l’établissement de solides assises de partenariat. Je classerais celles-ci en quatre catégories ou piliers de base : la confiance, le respect, la communication et la collaboration.

 

Synergie entre le président du CA et le chef de la direction : les quatre piliers de fondations solides

Pilier N° 1 – La confiance

Si la confiance est absente pour l’une ou l’autre des deux parties, la relation sera altérée. Pour en arriver à cette confiance mutuelle, vous devez prendre le temps d’apprendre les uns des autres : vos manières de penser, la façon dont vous traitez l’information, la façon dont vous exercez vos responsabilités, ce qui est clairement acceptable pour chacun et ce qui ne l’est pas. Pour le président du CA, il est important de préciser ses attentes envers la direction, notamment, quels sont les comportements jugés perturbateurs et quelles sont ses disponibilités. La confiance s’établit en étant transparent l’un avec l’autre; elle se développe en évitant de tenir pour acquis ce que l’autre pense, et en vérifiant régulièrement ce qu’il pense. Installer la confiance est à la fois un acte de maturité et de réciprocité.

Pilier N° 2 – Le respect

Le respect, c’est essentiellement l’appréciation de la valeur des réalisations de l’autre; cela dépend de la façon dont vous vous comportez dans vos rôles respectifs. Comment vous conduisez-vous dans cette relation et comment vous traitez vous l’un et l’autre. La clé d’une relation de travail efficace est une bonne compréhension de vos normes et valeurs communes ainsi qu’un engagement face à l’honnêteté et la cordialité.

Si vous vous trouvez dans une relation difficile avec votre homologue, au moins ayez le bon sens de ne pas émettre vos désaccords devant les autres membres du conseil d’administration. Cela vous permettra de fonctionner efficacement en tant que partenaires dans vos fonctions respectives de gestion de l’entreprise.

Pilier N° 3 – La communication

Partagez ouvertement vos attentes et résolvez les problèmes en temps opportun. Ces deux points, d’une apparente simplicité, ne sont pas faciles à accomplir mais ils sont une exigence primordiale pour le maintien d’une saine relation. Par exemple, lorsque le président du CA n’est pas satisfait du travail du chef de la direction, il est de sa responsabilité d’aborder les enjeux directement avec ce dernier, et ce, d’une manière constructive. Vous devez être capables de parler de malentendus, de déceptions et d’échecs sans être sur la défensive, ni de répondre personnellement à ces événements.

L’engagement à maintenir un dialogue ouvert contribuera à éviter que vous ne tombiez dans le piège d’en venir à exprimer vos doléances à des tiers, au détriment de votre relation avec l’autre dirigeant, et de perdre ainsi de vue votre rôle, soit comme président du conseil d’administration, soit comme chef de la direction.

Tendez la main à l’autre et engagez-vous dans une véritable communication. Grâce aux exercices de leadership efficace au sein du conseil d’administration que je leur propose, des présidents de CA et des chefs de la direction m’ont avoué souhaiter vouloir prendre plus de temps, lors de rencontres informelle (au petit déjeuner, par exemple), pour apprendre à mieux se connaître et prendre le temps de mieux communiquer. Bien que les deux aient ce même désir, il est trop fréquent que ni l’un ni l’autre ne fasse cette demande de rencontre, car chacun tient pour acquis que l’autre est trop occupé, qu’il n’est pas intéressé ou qu’il juge la rencontre inutile. Ne laissez pas ces hypothèses nuire à votre relation. Travaillez plutôt main dans la main et engagez-vous dans une véritable communication.

Pilier N° 4 – La collaboration

Faites ressortir le meilleur de l’un et de l’autre; soyez clairs sur la façon de travailler efficacement ensemble et collaborez autant aux avantages qu’aux inconvénients, aux succès qu’aux échecs possibles.

Les relations ne sont jamais parfaites, et même si elles sont agréables, il y a toujours place à l’amélioration. Soyez clairs sur ce qui fonctionne et faites ressortir le meilleur de l’autre. Sachez comment capitaliser sur vos forces afin d’améliorer l’efficacité du conseil d’administration et de la direction de l’entreprise. Soyez clairs sur ce qui ne fonctionne pas et efforcez-vous de vous compléter, en vous soutenant dans les domaines où vous êtes plus vulnérables sur les plans des compétences ou des expériences. Cherchez à découvrir les sujets où vous êtes en désaccords et ceux où vous vous entendez.

Si l’un des quatre piliers semble ardu ou presque impossible à établir, vous devriez accepter, de façon franche et honnête, de demander le soutien d’un tiers impartial. Cela favorisera un dialogue plus efficace entre vous, menant ainsi à un partenariat plus approprié.

Cela nécessite un certain travail; toutefois, c’est extrêmement gratifiant.

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*Johanne Bouchard est consultante auprès de conseils d’administration, de chefs de la direction et de comités de direction. Johanne a développé une expertise au niveau de la dynamique et la de composition d’un conseil d’administration. Après l’obtention de son diplôme d’ingénieure en informatique, sa carrière l’a menée à œuvrer dans tous les domaines du secteur de la technologie, du marketing et de la stratégie à l’échelle mondiale.

Pour en connaître plus sur le site de Johanne Bouchard